Our Christmas Traditions
Christmas in the 70's
As a kid in the 70's, our Christmas traditions were similar to that of many in our neighborhood. The only exception was we had birthday cake for dessert on the actual day.
We, like the other kids, looked forward to the Sears Christmas catalog arriving in the mail so we could make our list for Santa.
The tree was put up and decorated a few weeks before the 25th - something my Mom looked forward to.
My Mom would bake cheese sticks and we'd hope one would break so we could sample it. I still remember the flaky goodness of them. Then there were the graham cracker crusted chocolate chip, coconut, walnut, condensed milk gooey delicious (and sugar high) squares.
As with most kids, we could barely sleep on Chrismas Eve. I'll admit this excitement still existed in our teens. On Christmas Day we opened our stockings and presents.
Shortly after Mom and Dad placed the turkey in the oven, and we were off to visit our aunt, uncle and cousins. Dad conveniently needed to stay home to watch the turkey. Someone had to make a sacrifice right?! Then it was dinner time, dishes and a well-deserved rest.
Wacky Cats at Christmas
After adopting cats we could only place ornaments and garland on the top half of the Christmas tree. How those cats loved to paw at those shiny glass balls and knock them off the tree. Once they discovered they could climb the tree, it had to be secured to the wall as well.
Plus one of the cats, Sinbad, loved plastic. One day after Christmas, my Mom and I were sitting on the couch. We watched as Sinbad walked by, went under the tree, and picked up a pair of men's underwear (still in the plastic wrap). He then proceeded to walk by us, with the underwear in his mouth, and down the stairs into the basement. After stashing his find, he came back up and proceeded to take another pair as my Mom and I sat laughing at that crazy cat!
A Quebec Christmas Tradition
In Quebec, where my Dad grew up, their Christmas started after midnight mass. In the thirties, you didn't just show up at mass, you had to wait in line to purchase a ticket. If you can believe it - it cost 50 cents for one ticket. To put it into perspective, this was an era when you were lucky if you made $10 a week and an ice cream cone cost 5 cents.
Since mass was at midnight (and cost 50 cents), only the adults went. When they came home at 1 or 2 in the morning, the Christmas Dinner could be served. Besides turkey and vegetables, a must-have was tourtiere, a meat pie.
After their meal, they opened presents. Since this was just after the depression, little to no money was spent on presents. You usually received a piece of clothing that an older sibling had outgrown. Then everyone went to sleep and slept until noon.
How things have changed... today they raffle off TVs just to get people to come to midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
A Festivus Experiment...
After my Mom passed away, Christmas wasn't the same. After watching the Seinfeld 'Festivus' episode (Season 9, Episode 10), my Dad suggested we adopt this as a new tradition. It was one we could celebrate in November, instead of Canadian Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Luckily Dad forgot the details from that Seinfeld episode or we'd have used a metal pole for the tree, told everyone the bad things that happened to us that year, and then competed in feats of strength. Instead we just used a one-inch plastic tree that came out of a gumball
That new holiday was only celebrated once... it's better left on Seinfeld. Luckly Dad doesn't watch The O.C. or he might have heard of Chistmakuh...
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