Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas is here!

I love Christmas. I always have. The second December 1 shows on the calendar, all I listen to is Christmas carols. It's the same ones over and over, different versions by different artists, but I love them all just the same.

Over at Sommer's place, she's sharing Christmas memories. So I thought, why not share one of my own?

When I was a child, my grandparents had a huge house. Five bedrooms, four levels. The tree was HUGE, with so many decorations you'd get buried under them. It stood right next to the fireplace, where we'd have a roaring one going as we tossed ornaments, fake apples and tinsel at each other. We'd roast chestnuts - the old fashioned way - and have hot chocolate. And we'd laugh. So much laughter, our bellies would ache. When we got tired, we'd curl up with my grandmother, and watch as the grownups finished trimming the tree.

Then every Christmas Eve, we would have dinner - all 35 or 40 of the family and various stray friends with nowhere to go - and then we'd tear down dinner and gather in the living room. My mom would play the piano, we'd pass out song books, and sing carols for hours on end. (*Just a note on those song books - every year mom & I would go through them, replacing ripped pages, and putting new songs in. It was a PAIN*) We'd have a couple of breaks in the action, where we'd raid the treat table, refresh drinks, and then sit back down, calling out carols and page numbers. Our measuring stick was the 12 Days of Christmas. If we could get through all 12 days, the adults clearly needed more alcohol. To this day, that's one tradition that's remained the same.

When it was time for us to go to bed, my brother and I would trudge upstairs - under protest - and get into our jammies. After mom tucked us in, she'd go back downstairs to the festivities, and we'd sneak out into the hallway, sitting on either side of the large doorway, and listen to the fun, and wish we were old enough to stay up.

In the morning, we'd be up early as we could be. Under the same roof would be us, my parents, my two aunts, my two uncles and my grandparents. And we'd have so much fun waking them all up. We didn't realize until we got to be adults that they were up until two or three in the morning, not just tidying up after the caroling, but putting together my dollhouse or my brother's train set. We had no mercy.

As the adults pulled themselves - under protest - out of bed, my brother and I would run downstairs, hopping up and down eagerly to see what was under the tree. My father would come down and start the fire, my grandfather would pour out the traditional Christmas morning shot of liqueur, and my mom would take her place next to the tree to start handing out gifts.

If I close my eyes, I can still see it all - the twinkling lights on the tree, the red-orange flames, the horrible shag rug, the green furniture...and I can feel it.

The love. The warmth.


I loved how I was the only one I knew who had her whole family under the same roof for Christmas. When my grandparents sold the house, and we no longer had that tradition, well, I was bitter. But nothing lasts forever right?

It's going on ten years since we lost my aunt Gail to pancreatic cancer. My father has been gone for three, and my grandfather two. The family scatters now. We're all getting older, there's not as many children to keep up traditions for.

But come Christmas Eve, we'll still be trying to get through the 12 days of Christmas.

Just add alcohol.

0 horny thoughts: