Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Past

I don't get stressed about Christmas. I actually look forward to to every year. Even those times when I didn't have a job, or just lost one or even had no money for gifts, I still find it is my favorite season. I dislike the commericalization of Christmas. I don't like the fact that some people think they need to spend a small fortune on gifts. My family hasn't ever done that. We give and receive nice gifts but none are horribly expensive for the most part. We always had what we needed and most of what we wanted.

When we were growing up, my family was always woken up by my sister on Christmas morning. Ever the excitable type, she would run up and down the hall, till me and our parents were trudging up the hall behind her. If I woke up before she did, I would tip toe down the hall to the living room, peek under the tree, get a general idea of what Santa had brought me and go back to bed. Not my sister. She is two years younger than me, but on Christmas morning you would think she was only 3 years old. That continued until she went away to college.

For lunch we would gather at my mother's parents house to open gifts afterward. Yet again, my sister had a one track mind. She would inhale her food, if she bothered to eat or my mother made her, then on and on about opening gifts, till my parents caved. My mother was an only child so she got just about anything she wanted. She was my grandparents little princess. I was the prince. I kinda felt sorry for my dad and sister. They weren't ever left out, everyone was treated equally, but I could always tell mine and my mother's gifts were chosen with extra special care.

My father's parents had 5 children. And they all had at least 2 kids each. There was a mess of them. We would always go to their house a week or so before Christmas to celebrate with all the aunts, uncles and cousins. There were just to many families to placate over just two days. It was always fun. My grandparents always gave each grand kid a gift. That went on till they both passed away. By then there were over 30 of us. Just a little something. A pair of socks, or a package of handkerchiefs or some little $2.00 or $3.00 gift from the Five and Dime.

I remember all the laughter and bright lights. The shiny wrapping paper and the wonderful smells of food. I remember every kind word or deed. I remember the hugs of each of my grandparents, each aunt and uncle and even a few from the older cousins. We are still a pretty tight knit family. Most all of us live less than 10 miles apart. Only 2 live further away. Now the grandparents are gone on both sides of my family. But they are not forgotten. They are 3 generations now and in a few of my cousin's families a fourth. Their legacies of love and family and service continues on. Christmas is a wonderful time of year.


Ur-spo said...

Christmas memories are the best; they beat anything that is happening nowadays.

Lemuel said...

You post invokes memories indeed of my own childhood Christmases.

Your story of your father's family reminded my of my own paternal grandmother. There were not nearly as many people present as were with you, but my grandmother's meager gifts of 50 cents or a dollar out of her very limited income were vast treasures of love for me even as a small child. Somehow I knew 50 cents conveyed much more love than any lavish gift.

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