As a little girl, I couldn't wait for Christmas. Rewind back to 1956 ...

I love Christmas. The magical lights, the secrets, the music, cookies and presents! It's the most wonderful time of the year.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the neighborhood because they strung up the lights that go across the street so I know Santa Claus is coming to town soon. This year all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth because it's hard to eat Christmas cookies without them.

Well, maybe I want a Betsy Wetsy dolly and an Uncle Wiggley game, too.

Last night at the dinner table, Mommy said if I didn't eat all my lima beans I'm getting nothing for Christmas. But I don't believe it because Daddy winked at me.

On Saturday I got to build a Frosty the Snowman in our backyard with my best friend, Connie. When I came back in the house, all cold and wet, Mommy said I looked like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Today in school, Dora came running into our classroom yelling, "Here comes Santa Claus!" and then we heard his jingle bells. Mrs. Smith invited him in and he talked to all of us and told us to be good girls and boys, listen to our parents and teachers and told us to have a holly jolly Christmas. We got coloring books and oranges. Oh, I can't wait for Christmas morning! I'm going to try to stay awake to hear Santa up on the house top.

1964

My little sister is a real pain. All she talks about is Santa and that stupid doll Chatty Kathy and an Etch-O-Sketch. Big Whoop. I'm almost tempted to tell her that last year I saw Mommy kissing 'Santa Claus' when I got up to go to the bathroom and Daddy was putting together a doll carriage stroller for her. Boy, that would shut her up!

But then I'd get you-know-what from Mom and I'd probably wouldn't get the transistor radio or the blue mohair sweater I asked for. So, I'll keep my trap shut.

I'm praying to God to let it snow, let it snow, let it snow so we have a snow day. We can sleigh ride on the hill behind the house all day. A white Christmas would be nice.

At our last school dance we were really rockin' around the Christmas tree and I danced my first dance with a boy. It didn't really count though because he was a 7th grader and just a friend. But still.

1967

We went ice skating last night and Harry tied my skates for me. Ohhhh. He really made my skates' jingle bell rock! I'd like to tell him "You're all I want for Christmas" this year but I'm too shy.

1968

Best Christmas ever! When Harry gave me a diamond necklace, he whispered in my ear, "Merry Christmas darling" as he put it around my neck.

1970

This is going to be a really blue Christmas with Harry in Vietnam. I miss him so much it hurts. The best Christmas present ever would be having him home for the holidays. Instead I'll settle for him being kept safe.

1971

Our first Christmas together as man and wife! Santa is bringing Harry a new electric drill. I can't even begin to guess what is in the box with the pretty paper. I'm hoping it's something sparkly. Unfortunately it's too big to be jewelry. If it's a toaster, I'll bean him with it until he sees silver bells! Mom says men are notorious for buying their wives appliances for Christmas and it's our job to set them straight. (He fooled me. It was a beautiful black onyx/diamond necklace and matching earrings!)

1975

Harry built a gorgeous fireplace in Mom and Dad's recreation room and now here we are on Christmas Day and Dad has chestnuts roasting on an open fire. One exploded and flew all over the room! Mom yelled at him to remove the others before they hurt somebody. It was pretty funny though.

1977

Best Christmas EVER! It's Christmas Eve and I just read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and got cookies ready for Santa. Baby Becky is the best gift I could ever have! I am truly blessed.

1981

Sicker than a dog! On Christmas Day! There's a parade of the wooden soldiers marching in my head and I feel like a grandma got run over by a reindeer.

1999

It's a few weeks before Christmas. Harry is getting ready to go deer hunting. I went outside and yelled "Run Rudolph, Run!" He didn't think that was very funny. I thought it was hilarious. I think they all heard me because he didn't get a deer this year.

2004

Saddest Christmas ever. Our biggest elf is gone. And it seems like Dad took Christmas with him, along with all the other joys in life. I don't want to do any decorating but Becky said we need a little Christmas, even though our hearts are broken. So we put up a small artificial tree. I don't care if the man with all the toys doesn't come this year. All I want for Christmas is my dad back where he belongs.

2013

This Christmas won't be as hard as the year Dad left us but, it is going to be a tough one. It will be the first Christmas Becky and I have been apart in her 36 years. I told her, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas with your new family in Texas but you better be here next year!" Of course I'm feeling sorry for myself.

Then I remember a long ago silent night, o holy night, and how it came upon a midnight clear, that a baby, far away in a manger, changed the world forever.

While shepherds watched their flocks by night, it became the first Noel. A shepherd boy turned to another and asked, "Do you hear what I hear? Hark. The herald angels sing!"

The angels told of a baby born in the little town of Bethlehem wrapped in cloths lying in a manger and that he was the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord. What child is this, they wondered as they hurried off and found Mary's little boy child, in a lowly stable, surrounded by the friendly beasts of donkey, sheep and cows. They were filled with awe and declared they would go tell it on the mountain about the birth of Jesus.

Wise men traveled from the East, having followed a great star to the birth place of the King of the Jews. "We three kings have brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the child," they told Mary and Joseph.

And so there was great joy to the world as men and angels proclaimed this great and wondrous gift, the Son of God ... the true reason for the season.

All the presents, all the decorations, all the family that surrounds you on Christmas Day means more when you realize "Christmas isn't Christmas til it's Christmas in your heart. Somewhere, deep inside you, is where Christmas really starts. So, give your heart to Jesus, and you will discover when you do, that it's Christmas, really Christmas for you."

(This column is filled with titles of Christmas songs and carols. See if you can find them. The number will be revealed in next week's column. Merry Christmas, dear readers!)