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Preston County officials share most memorable Christmases

KINGWOOD — Laura Ingalls Wilder once said,  “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time.”

Wilder was born Laura Elizabeth Ingalls on Feb. 7, 1867, in Pepin, Wisc., the second of four children. She went on to write the autobiographical “Little House” book series, that was the basis of the television show “Little House on the Prairie.”

In the spirit of the season, three Preston County officials agreed to share their most memorable Christmases with The Dominion Post readers.

“I don’t have a Christmas that sticks out above the others,” Circuit Clerk Lisa Leishman said. “I come from a large family. I was one of six children. We had wonderful Christmases filled with lots of love and laughter. The family has grown in number but it’s still like that today, lots of love and laughter.”

County Clerk Linda Huggins said her most memorable Christmas happened when she was a  child and decided to wake up her parents Christmas eve.

“Sometime during the night (Christmas eve) I got up to go to the bathroom. To get there I had to go down a little hallway,” she said. “On the way, I looked into the living room and saw a bicycle and all of the presents under the tree. I went in and woke up my mom and dad saying ‘Santa was here, Santa was here’. My dad said you’d better go back to bed he might still be here.”

She said growing up, her family Christmas always included  church services.

“We always had very nice Christmas programs at our church. As children, we played different characters in the plays and sang solos or sang together.” Huggins said. “There were lots of children and every body came to watch the programs. I remember these as special times when you dressed up in your Sunday best. I always felt I was very fortunate.”

Commission President Don Smith said the Christmas he remembers most was the one he spent in the desert in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s the one that pops in my mind when you say the most memorable,” he said. “The reason being, I was not spending Christmas as I usually did with my family and friends.”

Smith said he was stationed in Saudi Arabia for a year, and missed celebrating Easter, New Year’s Eve, and Thanksgiving, as well as Christmas with his family.

“It wasn’t the most wonderful of Christmases but it made me realize what Christmas really means,” he said. “It’s being able to call home and speak with family and grandparents. Being there not only gave me a new appreciation of what Christmas means, it also made me appreciate my family and the people I am around even more.”

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