Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Of Christmases Long, Long Ago

I'm not going to lie, I completely stole the idea for this post  from my dad (we're a blogging family!). He wrote a post about Christmas memories, mostly from when he was a kid, but also a few traditions as a young adult with kids of his own. Christmas is my absolutely favorite holiday... I'm literally like a little kid on the days leading up to it, and especially on, Christmas morning. These days it's really about the family, and the traditions - both renewing old ones and starting new ones, and while it's tough not to enjoy the gifts aspect, it's as much, and probably more, about the giving than it is about the receiving now. Quite simply, I just truly love Christmas in so many ways. So I thought I'd share a little list of Christmas memories of my own. Some (a lot) might be a bit quirky, but to me, that makes them all the more special.

  • When my brother and I were kids, we really wanted a Teddy Ruxpin, like every other kid our age. Instead, on Christmas morning we each got a "regular" stuffed bear, with a note attached to it saying that so many kids wanted Teddy Ruxpin that these poor bears had nowhere to go, and Santa knew that we'd make a good home for them so sent them to us. We were either really sweet, or complete suckers, and we loved our bears more than we would have any Teddy Ruxpin. My parents continued this tradition for years, well past the point that we realized the story was a bit... embellished. Different stuffed animals, usually some form of bear, arrived on December 25th every year with a fun (and slightly less tragic than the original) note. I think it stopped when we were about 20. 
  • Every Christmas morning, without fail, we had to sign happy birthday to the baby Jesus in the manger before we could open gifts. This also stopped when I was about 22, when we realized weren't a religious family. 
  • One year my Grandma came to visit, and we didn't have the heart to tell her we had stopped going to mass years before. So we went... and got lost and drove around for 25 minutes, making up stories for Grandma about why we couldn't figure out what should have been a two minute drive to the church we supposedly went to every Sunday. 

  • We were cooking making (and eating) machines: Spritz, cutouts, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Thumbprints, the chocolate PB ones with a hershey kiss. At grandma's, it was Cuccidatis, Sfingis, and Rock Cookies - which were fruit cake disguised as cookies, we later found out. 

  • I have always had trouble sleeping on Christmas Eve. We used to have warm milk before going to bed, to help us sleep, but it usually didn't work. One year when I was about four my mom said she tiptoed into my room every hour, and each time she'd hear me quietly singing Christmas carols. She said it went on all night long.
  • My brother and I woke up so early on Christmas that my parents actually had to make a rule that we couldn't get up before 6 AM. Every year, whoever woke up first - almost always me - would knock on the other's door early in the morning and we'd sit together in one of our rooms counting the minutes until 6 AM. I remember one year, when I was about 19, I had just come back from overseas and had massive jet lag and actually "slept in" a bit on Christmas. Around 7:00 AM, I heard a knock on my door and a whispered "are you awake". I guess some habits are just not meant to be broken. 
Over the years traditions have changed. We've grown up. Most of my siblings have kids now, we all have our own households, and we're spread out throughout the country. These days, it's undoubtedly my young nieces and nephews who whisper (or loudly proclaim) "are you awake" in the wee hours of the morning on Christmas. Me.... I still have trouble sleeping on Christmas Eve for all my love of the holiday. Sometimes, I still even sing Christmas carols... though for the sake of others in the house, I now try to keep them in my head.

1 comment:

  1. I'd forgotten all about the driving Grandma to church episode. That has to be a classic. Thanks for jogging my memory.