Christmas Eve is here in 2009, it is cold today in Ohio and there is snow on the ground. That is suppose to change, warmer temps and maybe some sprinkles of rain. As I sit at the computer writing this, I am also making a list of things yet to do. I am also remembering what it was like for me as a child, waiting anxiously for Christmas to come.
Christmas at home was exciting. My Mother always decorated, I remember posing for a picture with my brother and sister for our Christmas picture. I must say we looked pretty dorky. Some of the problem is the way they took pictures then. With a camera that required film. I wonder if my grandchildren even know about film cameras? The pictures then were just a couple shots with fingers crossed they turn out well. Often they did not. Today we can look at the digital camera picture, if it isn't good enough, shoot some more and then erase the ones you didn't like. I wonder why I waited so long to get my first digital camera. Change is hard.
I also remember waking up early and checking out the tree, to see if Santa had really come! We weren't allowed to open any gifts until my Dad came home from milking the cows and feeding the farm animals. Sometimes I was sure he took his good ole time, just to keep us waiting. For Christmas when I was a kid we got sleds and things to build with, puzzles, games and of course I always got a doll. The last one I remember getting was a "bride doll", she stood about 28" tall and had this beautiful dress and veil. I still have her, she is still in her wedding dress, although the veil is long lost and so are her heels. How do you play with a bride doll? I know I ask for her, but now I wonder why?
We would open our gifts at home and then have to rush to my Grandmothers house before noon. My Grandmother had two trees, one was a fresh cut pine and the one in the front window was a foil tree with a few glass balls and a light that shined on it with a disk of changing colors. The tree revolved and so did the colors. Today my Grandmothers foil tree would be in style again. As we got to be teenagers, we always went up to help my Grandmother decorate. Everything went the same place it had been for years previous.
My Grandmother, Grandfather and Uncle Billy lived in Springfield, Ohio on Maiden Lane. I still find myself driving past her house today, just to see it and remember. My Grandmother was quite a character, she was short in stature, she had dark red hair and she smoked Lucky Strikes. They were big fans of the Cincinnati Reds and often went to games. She was a seamstress and made little girls smocked dresses, her business was called Miller Frocks. She would got to the homes of her clients, measure little girls, discuss the fabrics and features of the dress ordered. I remember the dresses were beautifully hand smocked by my Grandmother, she taught me how to smock too. The dresses always had deep hems and could be let down as the child grew. She made her living sewing for others. Sorry for the meandering...... back to Christmas.
Christmas dinner at my Grandmothers was the best! I loved her yeast rolls and learned to make them the way she did as a young married wife. We always had ham, mashed potatoes and the best gravy! She was an amazing pie baker too, she made butterscotch pie and fruit pies too. I loved eating at my Grandma Rankin's house!
A tradition we started when our children were very young, I remember Emily was just about a year old. Christmas Eve was a difficult time to amuse the little ones. So we decided to invite our neighbors over for the evening. They had two children about the same ages as our kids. Our plan was distract the children on Christmas eve and to visit with friends. It worked and every year since we get together on Christmas Eve with these same friends. We take turns hosting and sometimes the adult kids will come too. It is just a quiet little party to celebrate Christmas Eve. I'm hosting this year and should be in the kitchen instead of writing a blog.
Christmas day will be busy in our house too. I have offered to be open to changing the tradition but my children aren't ready for change. So Christmas at noon, all three of our children and their families will be coming to see what Santa has left under the tree. I will also be fixing dinner. We will be having ham, potatoes, gravy and veggies of all kinds. I'm not a pie baker, but we'll have cookies and other sweets. Ryan's wife Tere is the pie baker in the family now and she has some wonderful pies.
My tree is up and in the front bay window. This year all my grandchildren put the ornaments on it. The upper third of the tree is lacking decorations, none of the grandchildren are that tall yet. Oh, I could change it, but why? It is lovely and makes me smile knowing that they joyfully helped decorate it.
All the gifts are wrapped or bagged. I have made cloth bags in many sizes to "wrap" gifts in. This tradition was begun several years ago, hopefully I am saving some trees. The cloth bags are collected at the end of the day and put in a tub for next years gifts. I use the Christmas fabric that I bought on sale after Christmas one year.
I realize as I get older that the gifts under the tree are less and less important for me. It really is all about the family gathering, the excitement of the children and the love that is shared throughout the Christmas season. I continue to think of others less fortunate and try to make my contributions all through the year. Mostly I just want everyone to feel warm and loved. Merry Christmas and prayers for Peace, Love and Joy throughout the coming year.