Memories, of the Christmas Kind


When I think of Christmases past, I remember only the best moments. Experiences that made me appreciate the true reason of Christmas and feel fortunate to live the life I am. Here are few memories of my favorite Christmases…

1986: My twin sister broke her arm while playing in a city park. The city gave my parents money to avoid legal issues. My parents bought us new bikes with big, red bows. I never owned anything so beautiful in my life.

1988: My father worked two jobs to make ends-meet. But times were extraordinarily tough. Two days before Christmas, our doorbell rang. My family found an anonymous donation of wrapped gifts and bags of groceries to make Christmas dinner.

1989: Times were still tough. Bills had to be paid before gifts were purchased. Our church gathered gifts to donate to children in Mexico and my father was in charge of distribution. Our family packed our semi-working Volkswagon van to the brim with new toys and drove to Tijuana, Mexico to give gifts to orphan children. Mobs of children swarmed our van and stuck their sticky hands through the windows for gifts. We felt like the luckiest people to be alive.

1992: Stuffing my little brother into a stocking and taking pictures of him amongst my stuffed animals. He STILL hasn’t forgiven me.

1994: My family moved. Our house was pretty empty, but I was given brand new sunflower bedspread. And a bottle of Armani Aqua d’Gio perfume. That was a day when I felt like true royalty. Don’t ask me why, I just did.

1997: My first Christmas with JD. He bought me a teddy bear, a ticket to Disneyland, and the new Boyz II Men CD. I bought him a pair of white jeans, a new pager, and M&M’s. Oh, Internet, cut me some slack…it was the 90’s!!!

2000: Our first Christmas with a bald mom. Cancer brought us even tighter during the holiday season. St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton chose our family to be recipients of their Adopt-A-Family charity, and we received so many gifts and well-wishes from doctors and nurses. Their support renewed our hope mom would make it through.

2002: I was working as a manager at Nordstrom South Coast Plaza on Christmas Eve. I swore to myself I’d never be forced to work on a holiday ever again.

2005: My first Christmas as a wife. Trying to be a domestic goddess, I bought every Christmas decoration available at a discount store near my house. JD said our living room looked like Las Vegas and The North Pole got into a fight. And I was all, But doesn’t it look AMAZING?! He almost wore sunglasses that night as we decorated the tree.

2008: I don’t know what’s in store, but I do know one thing: I am happy. I honestly don’t want a single gift this year because I have everything that truly matters. A healthy family, a hopeful future, an amazing husband, fabulous friends, and the world’s most adorable dog. I couldn’t ask for more.

Special thanks to my good friend, Rita for sending me this gingerbread house. When my mom asks me to clean the dishes after our Christmas morning breakfast, I’m going to say NO. Why? Oh, because, MY NAME IS WRITTEN IN ICING. And I’m sure that makes me famous in some parts of the world. Just Google it.

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  1. mary beth graff

    December 19th, 2008 at 12:09 am

    pefectly writen and perfect image to go along. you are an amazing writer jasmine. happy holidays to you and your family.

  2. Tracy Grant

    December 19th, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Cutest Gingerbread house! Love it.

  3. Kim

    December 19th, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Happy Holidays to you and your family!! Ok I want a piece of that ginerbread house. 🙂

  4. Gabriel

    December 19th, 2008 at 12:42 am

    This is my first Christmas as a husband, and my wife went NUTS buying Christmas decorations!! So, I think we’re set for about 10 more Christmas!!!

  5. Cristen Clark

    December 19th, 2008 at 1:01 am

    That is so great! I want my name in icing…:)

  6. Mary Marantz

    December 19th, 2008 at 1:02 am

    LOVE this post!! I hear you so much!

  7. Katherine Bowman

    December 19th, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Thanks for sharing with all of us, those are special times! You really have a good memory too! 🙂

  8. SJ Styles

    December 19th, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Great Post!

  9. Chung Nguyen

    December 19th, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Erm, Polo is adorable, but my dog Fi is the cutest! (Fightin’ words, I know….) hehe

  10. Diandra

    December 19th, 2008 at 1:49 am

    Jasmine that made me laugh and cry. And it wasn’t even that long of a post! I got really choked up when I read the Christmas about taking toys to the kids in Mexico. That has been one of the most life changing experiences for me ever! And I love that even through hardships, your family has maintained it’s closeness and faith. Thanks for your post.

  11. Liza

    December 19th, 2008 at 1:56 am

    I am lovin’ that Gingerbread House! Somebody got some skills!
    Also I have to point out I almost died of laughter and dropped my laptop after reading ‘Las Vegas and the North Pole got into a fight’. That is so hilarious. Probably because I can so picture something like that. Thanks for giving me a good laugh, I’m snowed in and freezing!

  12. Ashley

    December 19th, 2008 at 2:00 am

    My family also had a semi-working volkswagon van and it was orange. In fact, I think my dad still has it but it’s a different color. I love that you listed all your memories and not just the perfect ones or the ones with the best gifts. This why I stalk your blog on a daily basis.

  13. Alan Nielsen

    December 19th, 2008 at 2:01 am

    I love the shamless self promotion on the Gingerbread house!!

  14. Tira J

    December 19th, 2008 at 2:53 am

    Thank you Jasmine, for once again helping me remember all of the wonderful times that came out of the bad times.

  15. bobbi+

    December 19th, 2008 at 3:03 am

    one of my favorite ever J* posts…. Merry Christmas to you!

  16. sherry boles

    December 19th, 2008 at 3:22 am

    The gingerbread house is too cute! Merry Christmas to you and your family!! 🙂

  17. Simply Modern Weddings

    December 19th, 2008 at 3:38 am

    Very sweet Christmas flashbacks, especially the one of you and your family donating the gifts for the kids in Mexico. very touching!

  18. Carrie V.

    December 19th, 2008 at 3:43 am

    That was simply lovely…thanks for sharing

  19. Becka Knight (Studio222 Photography)

    December 19th, 2008 at 3:55 am

    That was beautiful. Maybe one year my name will be in icing as well because I HATE doing the dishes.

  20. Feuza

    December 19th, 2008 at 4:14 am

    You have a twin? had no idea!. You just bought all the warm fuzzy feelings and watery eyes again. Christmas has always been nostalgic and um we do not have a single present under the tree and I am loosing my home but I am still very thankful and feel so blessed to have found my new passion and to have a healthy beautiful family.

  21. Matthew Saville

    December 19th, 2008 at 4:27 am

    🙂 Good times. Come on down to happy hour on Monday? =Matt=

  22. Laura

    December 19th, 2008 at 4:29 am

    1989: My big brother spilled the beans and told me what I was getting for Christmas. Oh goosebumps…. a Pink Barbie Corvette Powerwheel. Christmas morning rolls around, and no new wheels, for me. Barbie however was looking pretty sharp in her new pink Corvette. I vowed never to believe a word that came out of his mouth again! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!!

  23. Keri Doolittle

    December 19th, 2008 at 4:43 am

    Merry Christmas J Star, you are truly an inspiration to so many of us. Cute Gingerbread house, too!

  24. Lisa Llarena

    December 19th, 2008 at 4:45 am

    I’m getting myself a cake for Christmas with my name in icing then. Anything to get out of doing dishes. 😉

    Happy holidays to you and your family, Jasmine. I always love reading your posts and this one is no exception.

  25. Erik Miguel

    December 19th, 2008 at 5:32 am

    I want a gingerbread house.

  26. natt

    December 19th, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Jasmine, would you happen to have a photo of JD in those white jeans? =)

    Happy holidays!

  27. Bree

    December 19th, 2008 at 6:53 am

    That really is an amazing AMAZING gingerbread house!! Also, thanks for sharing your stories and memories. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  28. Melli

    December 19th, 2008 at 8:46 am

    If I wasn’t in the Christmas spirit already, I would be after reading your post. Thanks for posting your Christmas memories.

  29. FUNKE O

    December 19th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    What a lovely trip back memory lane.. thanx for sharing… wishing you and ur family a Merry Xmas and more to come in 2009.
    P.s I’m getting the best xmas present this year….. i’m becoming an aunty FINALLY!!!

  30. john waire

    December 19th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    what a cool gingerbread house! merry xmas and happy new year to you & jd….from baltimore.

  31. erica

    December 19th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    i love this post. it really makes me smile

  32. michelle cunningham

    December 19th, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    i’m going out to buy icing and writing my name on every plate in the house.

  33. Bobbie Brown

    December 19th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Ohhh, such good memories! I laughed out loud at the ‘white jeans’ though!! hahah! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  34. Candace Prokopets

    December 19th, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I love sharing memories especially Christmas. It is awesome to see the Lord’s blessings through your Christmas memories. Thanks for sharing. And that house is adorable!

  35. Casey Graham

    December 19th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Oh Jas! I am sitting here crying in my cubicle. These are awesome. I love that your memory is like a camcorder. Every post is like a home movie-esque glimpse into your life :0) Hope that what ever comes your way on 12/25/08 is grand enough to make the 2009 list. Cheers!

  36. jeramy

    December 19th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    your name in icing DOES make you famous. i’m just saying….

    and white jeans….oh, my!

    seriously, the best thing we can do this time of year is serve other people. your story of your family in 1989 is fantastic. it made my day when my son told me the other day that he wanted to "put together a package for the people around town that don’t have a house. especially the guy that hangs out in front of target." it really does put things into perspective. merry christmas to you both!

  37. imthiaz houseman

    December 19th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    great story!

  38. Jeni

    December 19th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    My first Christmas as a wife, I went beserk as well and bought so many decorations. At the time, I thought, "this sucks that they don’t mean anything really" 7 years later though, I was nostalgic putting out all the decorations and thankful for the trip down memory lane. 🙂

  39. Anne Nunn Photography

    December 19th, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    It sounds like you had wonderful parents. I often hear of parents who teach their kids to make the most of everything they have. I think this is the most valuable lessen we can be taught as children. I know your parents are so proud of the caring and Godly woman you have become.

  40. Korey

    December 19th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    "Oh, because, MY NAME IS WRITTEN IN ICING. And I’m sure that makes me famous in some parts of the world. Just Google it." Still laughing…

  41. Alicia

    December 19th, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Please post photos of JD in white jeans!

  42. Angelica

    December 19th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    LOVED this post…….Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

  43. Beth

    December 19th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Jasmine, i love you. You are so full of life and I love reading your blog and getting to know you – miles away haha! I always am so jealous of you having no snow while here in Canada we are stuck in a blizzard, and pretty much every time i read your blog i can feel sunshine!
    Merry Christmas J*

  44. Ashley Rose

    December 19th, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    I feel the same way about 2008, I dont want anything, I already feel so blessed. 🙂
    Love the gingerbread house!!!! Too cute to eat 🙂

  45. courtney

    December 19th, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    You’re a twin too?! COOL! Are you identical?
    Merry Christmas Jasmine and Family! Hope the Holidays bring you nothing but joy and happiness. 🙂

  46. Kelly | Purple Lemon Designs

    December 19th, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Love the run down of "Jasmine’s Christmas through the Ages." Very sweet post!

  47. Adrienne Byrd

    December 19th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    What a sweet post :). I love hearing people excited to celebrate the things that really matter this time of year: family, health, blessings and love! Your posts are always so inspirational! I agree with (Beth from Canada) – even though I have been sitting in my gloomy office all day, I can feel the sunshine! 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  48. katycoffey

    December 19th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing – what beautiful memories!

  49. mella

    December 19th, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    liar! i happen to know that you want a blender. lovely post though :o) i miss you and can’t wait for our annual thingamajig. also, i used to live in norwalk ;o) ha! xoxoxo

  50. Jeanette Sanchez

    December 19th, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing so much of who you are and where you’ve come from. Merry Christmas to you, JD, and Polo!

  51. B

    December 19th, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Since that money was legally mine, you owe me a bike 🙂 Hahahaha! I almost cried remember the Christmases you mentioned. I love you.

  52. toni

    December 19th, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    I love your name in ICING! What a sweet gift. Love reading your blog Jasmine. Merry Christmas.

  53. Fishgirl!

    December 19th, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Awesome, you should write the chronicles of Jasmine+!!! Merry Christmas to you and your love ones!!

  54. ohana photographers - david & kimi

    December 19th, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    just slobbered all over my screen. ooo must see the las vegas/north pole bout!
    hope you have a blessed and awesome christmas jas!

  55. A.W.

    December 19th, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    I cry at almost every post your write, but this one made me cry the hardest…not sure why…maybe ’cause sharing your past makes you that much more real….

  56. Jolene Tetangco

    December 19th, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    This gave me a lump in my throat. Maybe because I can relate to a lot of it. Beautifully written…

  57. Christine Vantol

    December 19th, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Wow Jasmine, Thanks for being so real and sharing such intimate parts of your life with all of us 🙂 I don’t know if it’s because I’m prego or what…but this one really teared me up ~ Merry Christmas from the Vantols 🙂

  58. Lydia

    December 19th, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    What a perfect little gingerbread house! Thanks for sharing such sweet memories with us! Aren’t we so blessed?

  59. kilipohi

    December 20th, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Good luck in getting out of the dishes! My dad would just give me the "stink eye" and I would be getting up and doing them.

  60. Melissa

    December 20th, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Great post Jasmine! I didn’t know you were a twin! I have twin boys myself! I love it!

    Happy holidays!

  61. melissa pearce

    December 20th, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Hey Jasmine! My grandparents both spent time at St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton– the staff was wonderful there. The last Christmas with my Grandma before she passed away was spent in a large rec room there — we have a large family, and since my grandmother had to be there following a stroke, they didn’t mind that like 75 of us showed up on Christmas eve!

  62. Heather

    December 20th, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I seriously got the chills !!! That is why you are so blessed.

  63. zobo

    December 20th, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    j i love this post its really good but it sucks when you have 1992 and you say something about sebby but when it comes to 1994 you dont even mention me. BOOOO your mean!! but i still love you cause your ganna buy me the best christas gift everrrr. haha J/k i luv you. ( :

    < 3 zobo

  64. Jennifer

    December 21st, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I admire your phenomenal photography skills and your work but I read your blog because you’ve got a good soul. Just thought I’d come out of lurkdom to tell you that you’re awesome. Merry Christmas!

  65. Rachel LaCour Niesen

    December 21st, 2008 at 5:46 am

    Our adorable gingerbread house showed up on Friday and has been adorning our console table with quirky joy. Gotta love Rita’s creative soul 🙂

  66. Shannon

    December 21st, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Where do you do take all your wonderful personal story photographs (lens, polo, gingerbread house, etc…)??? I love them!

  67. Jessica Lynn

    December 22nd, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Jasmine, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your {beautiful} work as well as snippets of and from your life. I admire you and your work so I hope that the new year brings you nothing but happiness, more lovely clients and many many more blog posts!

  68. Clemens

    December 22nd, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Jasmine!Love the memories… that you shared them with us….
    Dan and I are never going to forget this Christmas…we just found out that we are going to be parents….I guess I’m going to have to "prepone" our trip to CA because we are due in August and taking anniversary photos with a big belly – won’t look that good…
    I hope you can keep helping couples build their memories thru your photos.

  69. Robin Dini

    January 1st, 2009 at 4:53 am

    LOVE the gingerbread house! How sweet!

    white jeans…come on?!