Saturday, December 20

Childhood Christmas

Christmas is magical to most people because it is filled with fond memories. We continue to develop traditions even into adulthood -- but the basis of those come from childhood. My childhood Christmases are easily recalled and are, no doubt, the reason for my love of the holiday season. To me, there is an element in the air that doesn't exist at other times; something that, even though I'm grown and Christmas has lost the wonder of childish fantasies, the spirit continues. After all, Christmas is all about being childlike: giving selflessly, accepting graciously, becoming excited about silly things.

My small family did Christmas in a huge way. The entire week my mom would prep for "all" (all meaning 8) of the family to come to the house. Lots of cooking, lots of eating. We would clean and scrub and decorate. The upstairs had the beautiful tree and downstairs was the family tree - littered with our mishmash of sentimental ornaments. It used to be that we only opened one present on Christmas Eve, but somewhere along the road we ditched that and started opening EVERYTHING on Christmas Eve. The living room would be filled with wrapping paper and piles of presents. Best of all, when we woke in the morning, Santa had brought many more presents in the night.

Looking back, one of my favorite memories was Granny. She would drive herself down from Farmington in her cream Oldsmobile - always independent - and I loved to help her bring in the beautifully wrapped presents. Her arrival marked the official start of Christmas because she was the "out of town" company we prepared hardest for. The two of us used to sleep together in my bed on Christmas Eve and I remember the comfort of having someone near me. She always used a silk pillowcase to keep her hair nice. She always wore "house slippers." She always picked up pieces of whatever on the floor - no matter how hard we cleaned. She always drank a mug of hot water in the morning. She was lovely, and I miss her at Christmastime. We used to sing carols around the piano - me playing, Mom singing in her booming mezzo, Granny in her low alto. The lights from the tree illuminating the tree in a rosy glow, quiet snow outside, love on the inside.

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