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Family traditions

When I was a girl, we'd go to my paternal grandparents' house on Christmas Eve, and to my mom's folks on Christmas Day. In between, of course, we had Christmas morning at home.

Sometime in the afternoon, though, on Christmas day, we'd leave the new toys and go dress in our best, load up in the car and off to Grandma's house. For years, my brother and I were the only grandkids running around, and we definitely reaped the benefit of having lots of aunts and uncles and no competition. Later, cousins would come along, but not for years.

Everyone gathered early. The menfolk would end up down in the living room, the women in the kitchen, and my brother and I would race back and forth between them. When my uncle brought home a pool table from Cincinnati, the menfolk would gather in there, and we'd do a three-legged lap between the pool room, the kitchen, and the tree, where we'd scope out the packages and dare each other to touch the hot lights. And there was the bubble lights, too. Those fascinated us.

When Grandpa got home from work--he always worked Christmas day for the overtime and I always understood Cratchitt--then we'd eat. The dining room was small, so the menfolk would eat first, and as they finished, the women would wash up the plates and start seating the kids. Then they'd start eating, after the kids were fed.

When I was fifteen, I thought it was unfair.

When I was eighteen, I understood. The time in the kitchen was the time when my mother and all of her sisters caught up with each other. Until we started having a family picnic around Labor Day, Christmas day was the only day that all of them were in the same place at the same time.

After Grandpa passed away, though, it just wasn't the same. We had Christmas dinner at my aunt's house, and she made sure there were enough plates and seats for everyone. Something was lost, and it wasn't just Grandpa. But it was still good to gather with family. Next year, I hope to make it home.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 24th, 2004 12:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's good having a family Christmas ritual. Ours is still going on - tomorrow morning our entire family will be around here early for gift opening. Then they'll go home again, and we'll get dressed up nice then all go around my great aunts.

Sunday we'll either go to my Nana's or aunts. I have a big lucky dip of toys (despite the fact the youngest person there will be my sister at 16) which I shall take and we shall again watch grown ups having the most fun ever. Last year they made a paper aircraft carrier. At least we think they did. No-one there had ever seen an aircraft carrier so...

Then on New Years Day we do it all again.

I love my family. We're all living practically in each others laps anyway but Christmas is special.
Dec. 24th, 2004 04:02 pm (UTC)
It all sounds like such fun. Merry Christmas to you!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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