Christmas Past

I love Christmas Eve. Something about the excitement in the air. The kids on the street are happy and joyous and, in Southern California, the weather turns a nice kind of cold that we can actually lite up the fireplaces (although I’m sure my friends in the midwest think we are insane).

It’s a cool 45 degrees. This year my significant other (hubby of almost 40 years) is recouping from back surgery, so we’re taking it easy. Making Chinese food and watching the Godfather trilogy. While I do miss the kids coming over for crab legs and cole slaw, it’s nice that one of my sons picked up the tradition and is right now hosting more than 25 people at his house. Good thing he’s doing it this year because next year he’ll have a couple of 1 year olds running around and this tradition just may be coming back to grandma’s house.

Got another son who will be cooking up some Aebleskivers tomorrow morning (that’s Danish pancakes for those who don’t know). Another tradition handed down.

And so it goes. My mom passed 10 years ago on Christmas Eve. She had a good life and we always said it was a good day to die for a nice Catholic lady. Celebrating the birth of Jesus in Heaven. Not bad.

But it did get me to thinking about a Christmas years ago. My mom was mad at my dad. Don’t know why but she decided not to do Christmas that year. Mind you, there were about six of us then (the other 3 came later). My dad, ever the romantic and holder of all things family, made a run to the gas station to buy us gifts (remember, this was about 100 years ago and not many stores stayed open on Christmas Eve). That year we got car fresheners, key chains, maybe a metal toy truck or car and candy. I pretty sure we didn’t care. For us, it was magical.

My mom must have come around because I really don’t remember it badly. Of course, I may be the only one of my siblings who remember it at all.

Which brings me to 2016. All things change, including Christmas. All those years of crab leg Christmas Eves, 25 to 30 people for Christmas dinner, toys, bikes, skateboards, quads, Playstations were fun but exhausting. Last year, Christmas set me on my heels (like Christmases before) when we lost someone close to us. It seems like a bad time of year for death, but then again, when is a good time to be sad.

The excitement is still in the air. The kids across the street are playing with their race cars and drones, my husband is sitting in front of the fireplace with the two old labs and I’m thinking about Christmas past.

While I’m not a big fan of Christmas (I like Thanksgiving so much more), I’m happy to see people happy. It was a tough year. I’m hoping people in general will stop worrying about the end of the world (ala Trump victory) and focus in on really how good we have it. Because it may just be an air freshener from a gas station, but there is something magical about Christmas and we should enjoy every minute we spend with our family and friends.

Merry Christmas and peace to all.

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2 Responses to “Christmas Past”

  1. Cheryl Phillips Says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post, Patti. This is the alternate year that Amy and Adam fly to Colorado to be with his parents in Pueblo, and Jennifer celebrates with the kids in Beaverton where it has been snowing. Your post was a gift this morning, reminding me of all my blessings, my health, my wonderful friends, and how the gift of words is sometimes the best present of all.

    Merry Christmas, my friend. Here’s to a 2017 filled with all things good.

  2. Susan Says:

    Such a nice story, and I’ll treat air fresheners with much more respect from now on.

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