Christmas has always been a special time of year for me. I love the old Christmas movies and the way that at least for a day or two you can pretend that all the bad in the world is gone and focus on the good and just be hopeful!
Christmas Eve when I was a very small child was the day that our family finished up the preparations for Christmas Day. When I was a kid, we would always go to see both my Mom’s and Dad’s families on Christmas Day: one for lunch and the other for dinner (or sometimes a late lunch depending on the scheduling of the two sides). So we had a lot of stuff to prepare because the day was full of stuff to do. On Christmas Eve, Mom would make whatever she was going to take to the family meals the next day and we would usually have cookies and stuff to snack on all day. As we got older we would “HELP” Mom. As I look back, she could probably have been done in half the time without our help but she always let us help anyway. In the evening, we would sit around the TV and watch the Christmas shows on TV (Frosty the snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Peanuts Christmas Special among others). Usually, one of the standard Christmas movies would be on and we would watch that too (Maybe the Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life. Then, it would be time to go to bed so Santa could come!
On Christmas morning we would get up and open our presents! Then, Mom and Dad would fix us some breakfast (usually eggs and biscuits and gravy). This was a treat for us as both Mom and Dad worked and we often just had cereal for breakfast. Then we could play with our toys for a while and it would be time to go to the first set of grandparents house.
Christmas Day at the grandparents (on both sides) was always an extended family event. My parents siblings and their children would all be there sometimes with the great-grandparents or great-aunts and uncles making an appearance. There would usually be some more presents and there would be cousins to play with and always great food! My Grandmother Treat always made chocolate and lemon pies for the holidays! My Grandpa Thompson would make his Rocky Road Fudge!
The traditions changed over the years as my grandparents died and life moved on. But the gatherings at Christmas time have always been a constant in my family. For a few years it was just me and my sister and brother with our parents and sometimes my Dad’s Mom, but in the last decade the family has expanded. Now, I have a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law and there are five kids to come to my house (which I share with Mom and Dad) for the presents and the foods and the FAMILY!
Sometimes as genealogists we spend so much time with our dead relatives that we forget to enjoy the living ones while they are here. Christmas is my time to remember to take some time and just enjoy the present!
This year with the health problems of several of the family it reminds me that taking time for family is even more important so I am going to take a few more days from blogging. I will be back in the new year but I am going to take a few days and enjoy my family!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!