Childhood Christmas Memories
Christmas is always a time of reflection for me. I love reminiscing of past Christmases. It's a time when I think about all the things that make each Christmas so special.
Being an only child, I don't have fond memories of the antics of siblings on Christmas morning or big Christmas meals with us all gathered around a dining room table like an episode of the Waltons or a Norman Rockwell painting. I do have some fond memories of my childhood Christmases that I'll share in another hub, but I'd like to start by sharing my Christmas Eve memories at my grandparents' house.
My maternal grandmother passed away in the late 80s. My maternal grandfather passed away just a couple of years ago at the age of 92. The year before he died his house was sold and he moved into a nursing home.
Christmas Eve at My Grandparents' House
We traditionally spent Christmas eve at my maternal grandparents' home. My mother is one of eight kids. We would pack all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins into my grandparents' tiny 2-bedroom, 1 bath house with no central heat or air.
These are a few of my childhood Christmas memories of Christmas eve at my grandparents' house. I'm sure you'll find a few similarities with your own family.
- When we came in the front door we had to open it slowly because the odds were pretty good that there were 3-4 people standing in front of it because there was no where left to stand.
- If we wanted a parking space within a block of the house we had to arrive very early. It was no fun walking for a block or two when it's cold and we were lugging in presents and food.
- We knew not to block the drive or we'd be asked to move our vehicle at least 10 times during the evening as the ten cars expertly parked in the front yard will want to leave for something.
- We knew that any of us over 5' tall would have to duck when walking through the living room since the 50+ Christmas stockings hung around Grandma's quilt frame suspended from the ceiling will now most likely cause a concussion since Grandpa had filled them with an orange, an apple and some nuts.
- When walking between the living room to the dining room we knew to watch out for the Dearborn gas heater. Each of us has been burned by it at least once. I'm not sure how we've never caught anything on fire from it, but I guess we were lucky.
- The artificial Christmas tree in the corner of the living room never ever changed. It always looked exactly the same the 40+ Christmases it was displayed there. Some years there were so many presents stacked around it we weren't sure we'd ever dig through them all.
- The hallway outside the only bathroom they had usually had a line of people in it. If we feel the urge to go to the bathroom we knew to plan on waiting a few minutes in line.
- For as long as I can remember, their bathroom door had an old fashioned door knob that once had a keyhole above it, but it had been removed leaving a hole about the size of a quarter. That hole was always stuffed tightly with toilet paper. We had to lock the door from the inside by using a latch with an eyelet that was screwed into the frame of the door and for some reason never thought much of it at the time.
- The bathroom always smelled of Lava soap because my Grandfather was an auto mechanic by trade. It didn't matter though because we wouldn't be in the bathroom long because the line outside the door would insist that you hurry up.
- The hallway outside the bathroom also served as a staging area for the grandkids' impromptu march-in while singing Christmas carols.
- Although it usually took 4-5 people over an hour to hand out gifts from beneath the Christmas tree, it only took 10 minutes to open them and cover the entire house in 3 feet of Christmas wrapping paper.
- Someone always loses something in the mountain of wrapping paper that has everyone stopping and searching for it.
- We could count on the person not bringing any food to contribute to the meal would be the one with the most kids and the first in line when it's time to eat.
- There was always more desserts than regular food so we never had to worry about missing out on dessert. We were more likely to miss out on corn or a hot roll.
- Grandpa always insisted on telling me how good his pecan crop was for that year and try to send me home with a bag of frozen pecan halves from his freezer.
Preserve Your Memories
Listed above are various memory books for preserving your Christmas memories. I have been keeping a record of the Christmas memories and events for my family. It's a resource that we turn to remind us of all the fun we had over the years. While the kids were small, I always had them lay their hand on the page and I traced it around it. It was fun to watch them grow.
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