|Me (on the left) and my sissy, circa 1966, with our Christmas bounty.|
I have so many memories of Christmas growing up. I remember specific gifts with vivid detail. Like the Barbie cases we got that particular Christmas above. My sister got the cool rectangular white one above and mine was more squared and black. I coveted her case and remember getting angry with her one time and defacing the front of it with a black permanent marker. Hehe.
Santa always knew what I wanted and even left evidence of his visits with boot prints in the fireplace and cracked nuts on the hearth. That Santa was a hungry dude as he always ate some of the cookies we left out for him too. And, I remember the sadness and yet affirmation I felt when I finally asked my mom, "If this tape recorder is from Santa, why does it say J. C. Penney?" I wanted to continue to secretly believe, but the gig was up.
Each Christmas morning, we'd get up early, open our gifts, and then get ready to head up the interstate to a city 110 miles away where my grandparents lived. There, a big meal was being prepared, and all the Aunts, Uncles, and cousins would be there. More presents to open, and then we'd sit down to a huge feast prepared by my grandmother. I vividly remember her multilayer coconut cake and stack cake, along with her rolls that would melt in your mouth.
As we got a bit older, we started having our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve and we'd pass out the presents to each person from under the tree. We each would have quite the stack and we'd go around the room, taking turns to open gifts, and ooing and ahhing over what each of us got from the other. Then, again, we'd head to my grandparent's house the next morning. It was the way of every Christmas... until the mid 1990's when my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. She would only live a few years and our Christmas celebration would dim a bit. My grandfather passed away three years later. They had been married 65 years and were finally together again.
But, traditions are hard to break and so, to this day, we still do our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. We meet up at my parents house around 6pm and enjoy a lovely spread of her delicious cocktail meatballs with rolls, shrimp cocktail, sausage cheese toast squares, cheese balls, nuts, cookies... and we give thanks for our family. We stopped giving gifts several years ago, as none of us needs a thing, and other than giving the boys (who are now 15, 18, and 20) some Christmas $$, we spend the time simply celebrating the gifts we are given each day, and the ultimate gift of His son.
Merry Christmas to you all. May you feel the love of His blessings and the spirit of His peace.