Favorite Christmas memories6:20 AM
I love Christmas. Next to Thanksgiving it has always been my favorite holiday. Funny thing is though, there are so many Christmases when something screwed up the holiday that, while looking back into the cobwebby parts of my brain, I suddenly became surprised that I still liked the holiday.
Like how many times were one of us kids sent upstairs because my stepfather had been out the night before, was hung over and the next morning couldn't handle us being...kids? Too many.
Or the many times I was sick as a kid during the holidays?
Or the first Christmas after we lost my nephew?
Or the many times we went to the grandparents's house who liked the kids seen and not heard? And if you could be invisible, that would have been better, too.
Or the Christmas when my stepfather announced he was leaving and never coming back? Oh, yeah, and told my oldest brother "good luck"with college because he was no longer footing the bill.
But I still love Christmas. What I love most about it is the preparation of the holiday. That was always the best in my family.
Ever since I was old enough to cook we have lived in a house where the television is visible from the kitchen, so every December our weekends would be filled with holiday movies while making cookies. Before the internet boom we would look through magazines to get our recipes, although we pretty much ended up making the same thing every year! Pies would also be made, and eaten, and our glucose levels would sky rocket, but it made for a great memory.
The years we would go to my other grandparents's house, the ones who loved us and were happy to be grandparents, were the best years. Grandma always had new nightgowns for us girls. Think Little House on the Prairie type gowns, but I loved them. We would get our baths in after a long day of playing, put on our gowns and sit on the brick fireplace stoop to dry our hair. The perfectly shaped tree stood at the back, always with white lights on it, decorated mostly with handmade ornaments from my grandparents's kids or grandkids. They had slatted doors that opened into the living room and the slats always held that year's Christmas cards from all of their friends and family. The silver sleigh bells would stand in a crystal bowl, one for each and every person's birth year. The smell of ham or cinnamon rolls would waft through the air.
It was the feeling of home. But the, no matter what the season, that house was always my "home" in the midst of my other home life's turmoil.
I also love to remember the year that my first born was just born along with her cousin. We would line up the two babies next to the fireplace and marvel at their differences. My sister made matching dresses for both of the babies and our older niece, who had endured seven long years with only brothers and no other female kids to play with. Queenie cried through the photos, but my niece kept a calm face, happy to play big sister to her little cousins.
Or the year, even more recently, when we finally spent Christmas with my father. I loved watching their traditions of eating tamales with their turkey and making oreo truffles. My stepbrother, who I don't know well, spent most of his time playing with his nieces who he never gets to see while my grandmother looked on with misty eyes, happy to finally have her family back together after so many year.
Yes, Christmas is still my favorite time of year. I love the chaos, the shopping, the baking, the movies, the decorations. Of course, over here in Europe much of that has changed. But that is a topic for tomorrow's post!