Blogmas 2014: Day 14: Favorite Childhood Christmas Memory
As I have been typing up these blogmas posts, I keep going back to the Christmas Eve celebrations that our family had when my Grandparents were alive. Looking back I realize that it is those memories that I hold near and dear.
Being the oldest grandchild on my Dad's side of the family, I remember when my Grandpa and my Great Grandma (Gram) were alive. I remember when everyone would converge at my Grandma's house for Christmas Eve dinner. Gram, my Grandpa, my Grandma and my Great Uncle Jim all lived in my Grandma's house. We would show up around 5:30ish, after the early Christmas Eve mass got out. It was not unusual for there to be more than 30 people in my Grandma's house for Christmas Eve. And she did not have a huge house...she had her entry way room, the living room, dining room and kitchen. That was the space where we all were. It was crowded but no one ever complained.
When you arrived at my Grandma's house you would see her porch decorated with lights and tinsel and 2 candle lights on each side of the steps. You would enter into the entry way room and you would see the tree. I remember that there were always chocolates filled with creme and turtles in candy dishes on one side of the entry and there were candied orange slices on the other side of the entry from the entry way to the living room. In the living room, there was her nativity scene decorating her mantel above the fireplace which was blocked by the couch. My Grandma decorated EVERY room of her downstairs and there were LOTS of decorations. Including a Santa in the bathroom that when you walked by to sit on the toilet, would start singing. LOL My grandparents had a sense of humor as well.
I remember that the front hall, where the tree was decorated, was filled to overflowing with gifts and coats. I remember my uncles having to go upstairs to my Grandparents bedroom to bring down all of the gifts that my Grandma Rose bought. I remember the grandkids waiting impatiently until it was time to open gifts. Finally, after what seemed like centuries the adults would allow the kids to pass out the presents and open their presents. I really don't remember much of what I ever got, although I do remember that there was always an envelope from my great Grandma Gram with money in it, and my Great Uncle Jim always got us a stuffed animal of some sort. I still have two of the bears that he got me.
|This bear was from 1996|
|This bear was from 1994|
After the kids all opened there gifts, the adults would open theirs. My Grandma always bought her sons and sons-in-laws a new cardigan sweater for Christmas. It was tradition. She would get her daughter and daughters-in-law wine glasses or beleek crystal. After everyone had opened their gifts, I remember my Grandma taking her place and opening her gifts. I remember that every year she would get a bottle of "White Diamonds" perfume. She would also get a new piece of Waterford Crystal from my Great Uncle Jim and for a few years she got a new piece of Bohemian crystal from my parents. When she was done, then it would be time for most everyone to leave. We always stayed and helped clean up and we would sit and watch midnight mass from Rome with my Great Uncle Jim.
It was always a time of lots of laughter and love and pure joy. Now that my Grandparents are gone and many of my cousins are married and starting their own families, there is a sense of loss but also of a time for making new memories for my own children. It is a different stage of life and I hope that one day my own children will look back at their past Christmases with as much fondness and love as I do my own.