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For me, Christmas has evolved over my 80 plus years of celebrating.

 

From a child full of wonder and excitement to an adult who wants to make this a special celebration for a child or grandchild.

 

I grew up during a post-depression period through a War time shortage of many things.  Those times called for being creative, using whatever you could to make it a happy time for the believers in the family.

 

My mother was very creative, using sorghum for much of her baking, wrapping gifts in used newspapers that she was usually donated to the paper drives, and using feed sacks my Aunt, who lived on a farm saved but didn’t use.  Mother created pajamas and doll clothes and much more for my older sisters and me.

 

We always had a real tree, Dad knew someone with natural pine trees growing on their farms, artificial had not been created, but we had the celluloid ornaments from years past.

 

Mother found some oranges from the local grocer. One for the foot of each stocking.  This was a real treat for a family who lived in Iowa.

 

Dad had received some nice beef roasts as payment from one of his insurance clients and they were housed in the locker plant a few blocks from our home.  Mother made a meal.  Tasty and filling with leftovers for the days ahead.

 

My family loved to sing, especially Christmas Carols and Dad would lead off with his booming Baritone voice and we sang every song we could remember.  That made doing dishes a special event.

 

When I was a mother of four children, my husband was a high school math teacher. It was still important to be frugal but still make Christmas special.  The children were in programs at school and at Church, and, with the help of my mother, each had a new shirt or dress to wear to these occasions.

 

My sisters who lived in the area, packed up their gifts and family and we all gathered at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house, loading our gifts in the car to be shared with all.  Many of those gifts were handmade, my sister inherited my mother’s skill for sewing, mine were usually a collection of cookies we made at my house.

 

The Grandparent’s house was full of children, good food and laughter. When I became the Grandmother, I was only in charge of a gift for each child and my caramel rolls we devoured before we opened gifts.  My youngest daughter hosted the event, she had the most space.

 

The gifts were passed around before anyone opened one.  We took turns, so we could enjoy the smile of every face as they discovered their treasure.

 

Now my grandchildren are grown and spread to many parts of the Country.  Sending checks in envelopes is the best that I can do.

But when I close my eyes, I can still see and hear the sights and sounds of those years, and I smile.

 

Christmas is for memories, and I have enough to last my lifetime.

 

– Isobel from Hot Springs, Arkansas, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of her life.

 

* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (LLC).