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Best Family Christmas Ever

Updated on December 13, 2012

Till this day, 1959 was the most magical for me and that is *the Christmas* I want to recreate each and every year.

This was the very best family Christmas ever. My Moms clan was finally all present in Belgium. Grandma,Grandpa and Uncle Franky ( he was only two years older then me) had just arrived from Hungary three weeks ago.

After impatiently waiting, and waiting most of the day, we all met at Aunt Ilonas place in the afternoon for drinks and snacks. Which were clearly Grandma's specialty.

The hottest, sweetest most scrumptious Apple Cider in the whole wide world with walnut and apricot double-decker cookies.

I was only six years old but those cookies were what I would call "two-handers" absolutely huge humongous monsters. If I close my eyes and concentrate I can still smell and taste that vanilla-sugar-sprinkled-melt-in-your-mouth-two-layer cookie. Can you smell it too? Hmmm! A blend of fragrances, Vanilla, apples, cinnamon and pine tree...yum

I'm positive this is the reason why I still love apple cider and apricot double-deckers.

Our Christmas eve celebration was the most important to us kids because the "Kristus Kind" (Christ Child) came and gave us presents. A toy and a couple of pieces of clothes.

In typical child focus, the gifts and not much else mattered. We ate a tradition-filled special supper. By which time, sleepy or not, it was off to church, for midnight mass. Which always started at eleven, and then concluded with a lantern lit trek to the holy family set up in the manger around the corner in the church yard. It was quite magical even though most years our area of Belgium had no snow for Christmas. Everyone sang Christmas carols, until at the stroke of midnight the bells from every Church in town rang and rang in celebration of the birth of Christ. At the end of the bell symphony a bugle played an amazing rendition of 'Silent Night'. After, we all went home and to bed.

"Kristus Kind" needed enough time to go from house to house to leave the gifts, so we had to stay away from our home.

Grandpa offered to take us kids for a nice walk around town after the Cider and Cookies.

He was one brave, brave man -ten kids- the oldest, cousin Icuka, not quite ten, the youngest me six, the rest all in between.

I remember the evening as absolutely magical, walking around town, the streets decorated,, all the dressed up store windows...In the twelve years we lived in Belgium I can only recall having snow three or four times .

That Christmas 1959, shortly after we left Aunt Ilonas home it started to snow those big enormous flakes. By the time we reached the town centre which had a music pavilion on one side and the lit up Christmas tree on the other- there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Just enough to have a bit of a snow-ball fight, which really didn't last very long because none of us kids had brought gloves or mittens.

Gramps had the most splendid sense of humor and could tell stories on top of stories which we listened to with awe but each of his tales always ended in some kind of ridiculous situation that had us kids all roaring from laughter. Amazingly Gramps had no problems in keeping us in-line. This was to be the only Christmas we were to have in Belgium together. Had I known that the family was prepping to leave for Canada (except for us) It really would have saddened me because I just loved Gramps and Grandma so much.

Gramps was not a big man, only 5'5" and maybe hundred and thirty-five pounds with rocks in his pockets, but was as tough and strong as they come. The only thing major about him was his voice. It was deep, melodious and booming and man could he sing those old Hungarian tunes, and whistle, 'man-oh-man' was he great. He would not have needed a microphone if he would have sang at a stadium...

On that magical evening, in a town, far far away from our native Hungary- His life and his families life in a turmoil. A totally unknown future in front of him. Grandpa let us kids know what Christmas really means...

All his stories he told that night were about Christ's birth, the animals in the manger (tooting to warm up the air) magic, love, family, friends, snow, cold, winters beauty all around- then finally eight o'clock hit when we met the rest of our clan at our door.....

Wow!!! A beautiful baby doll and a doll carriage for me, just what I had asked for on my wish list... How did "Kristus Kind" know what I wanted????

Now for the food we're starving

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    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Okay! She was a sweet little Lady who loves tea with lemon in a china cup and has embroidery floss hanging from a couple of needle pinned to her tip. Tell her I miss her and that I'll be baking soon.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      10 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks Zsuzy Bee. I'm going to try-- and I'll let you know if your grandmother shows up.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks Rochelle for coming by. I e-mailed you the recipe. My favorite part of the holidays is the baking these. I always feel that Grandma is with us when we bake these.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      10 years ago from California Gold Country

      I'm glad you brought this back for a revisit. Beautiful story of wonderful memories.

      (D you have a recipe for those apricot things?)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Ripplemaker! Thanks for taking a look. I agree with you about keeping those warm fuzzy memories alive....

      Happy Holidays to you too!

      regards Zsuzsy

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I miss my grandpa and grandma. They already passed away. I remember when it is time for us to go home...grandma would be the first person to give me a big warm hug that just engulfs you with all the love. Yes, it is good to keep that feeling alive...always. Thanks Zsuzsy for remembering and re-creating, it may not be the same exactly, but the feelings can be. Merry CHristmas!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks CGull! I'm sure I will have a good one again this year I will be with my loved ones...The rest doesn't matter

      Have a super HOLIDAY too and thanks for your good wishes

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      GlassVisage! Thanks for taking a look

      regards Zsuzsy

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 

      11 years ago from North Carolina

      Have a great Christmas this year also. Cheers :)

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 

      11 years ago from Northern California

      Sounds like a great Christmas :)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      You're very welcome. I enjoyed revisiting with this memory and it has put me into the best Christmas spirit.

      thanks for your comment

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Marye Audet 

      11 years ago

      thanks for sharing zsuzsy!~

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks for taking a look and your kind comment

      regards Zsuzsy

    • luxeadj profile image

      luxeadj 

      11 years ago from South America

      thank you for this article.........................

      it is so good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks for taking a look

      regards Zsuzsy

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 

      11 years ago from Sydney

      Many imes our thoughts of yesterday make the differnce in what is to happen tomorrow. We need to think back on the good time and be cheered by the fact that God gave his son for the benefit of us people in the world

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank you for your kind comments.Hope You have a joy filled Christmas too.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • gatodos profile image

      gatodos 

      11 years ago from Texas

      Thank you, Zsuzsy for taking time out to share such a beautiful and loving memory. It does help to jump start some of the folks that have forgotten long times past and how special they were to us. May the feeling of Christmas last all year round! Thanks, again!

      gatodos

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks Kenny! Unfortunately the 'Kristus Kind' has been taken over by Santa in the eyes of my children ...You know 'When in Rome do as the Romans do...'

      but thank you for your comments

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      11 years ago from Chennai

      Great unique hub! May Kristus Kind shower you with whatever you want this Christmas!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank you Michelle!

      I'm in the midst of planning our next Christmas and it should be great too.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Michele Engholm profile image

      Michele Engholm 

      11 years ago from Hutchinson

      This was a wonderful story. I love hearing about times when families are together and values are squarely in the right place. What a lovely memory for you and yours. Thanks for this hub. Great writing as always.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great! As I said in my story I'm forever trying to recreate that kind of Christmas for myself and my gang...

      Thanks for your comment

      regards Zsuzsy

    • VickeyK profile image

      VickeyK 

      11 years ago

      Wonderful story--Now I'm really in the Christmas mood!

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