The phrase is cliché but for me it is true. I hate cold weather but Christmas time brings out the warm and fuzzy in me. This time of year, I hum a tune cheerfully, decorate the tree and anticipate spending time with my family. There is an idealist in me that “would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” This time of year people seem more jolly and kinder to their fellow man.
My fondness of the season is because I associate it most with happiness, tradition and family. I grew up working class, but there was one thing I received an over-abundance of – love. I grew up feeling safe, secure and knowing that I was loved by my parents, grandparents, and a host of aunts and uncles. There were always presents under the tree, but what I remember most is family time.
This time of the year was special – the house smelled of baked goods, nuts hard candy and pomegranates would appear on end tables, making snow angels and a snowman, dad and aunts joining in snowball fights, bundling up to the point of suffocation, a field by the school would freeze and everyone old and young would run and slide on the ice – wipe outs were the best!
Christmas day was excitement! My mom made our stockings and would hang them on the staircase. However, Christmas morning the stockings were off the staircase on your section of the sofa stuffed with treats and goodies that it would have broken the staircase. Mom and dad said we had to sleep past midnight and only after midnight could we come downstairs. My sisters and I would wake at 3am to open presents, not knowing mom and dad just fell asleep. They’d watch us open presents and head back to bed until breakfast. Our parents never asked us what we wanted for Christmas. My sisters and I just circled toys in the Sears catalog and maybe you received it. We always received clothes for Christmas in addition to toys. The sofa was sectioned off in three, one for each child so you always knew your gifts. After a big breakfast, we’d get dressed in our new clothes and take one toy to visit both sets of grandparents. All of the aunts and uncles came to the grandparents on Christmas; you knew all the cousins would be there so you could play with their toys too.
The first stop of the day was always mom’s mom (Granny). Granny had a small tree but it did not matter because of the love warmth and food. Good eating was always guaranteed at Granny’s house. Then off to dad’s mom (Grandma). Grandma had a huge white aluminum tree that was wrapped in red tinsel, like in Charlie Brown. Maybe that is why I love “A Charlie Brown Christmas” because it reminds me of her tree. Grandma bought gifts for each grandchild that suited our personality or what she hoped for our future. I always received educational gifts because she said that was my gift/talent.
The gifts were nice but the best memories seem to happen after presents were opened and we sat around and reminisced about loved ones gone, Christmas past and seeing a new generation come up. I liked watching my mom and dad dancing together, seeing Granny play with our toys and hearing aunts and uncles talk about who was the worst sibling (to be saved as ammunition when my parents would say “I don’t know where you get that from”).
I celebrate Christmas because of my faith. I love Christmas because it reminds me that the greatest worldly possession I have is gathered around me on that day – family.