4 Christmas Traditions
I really had to think about this one because at first glance it seemed like our family didn’t have any Christmas traditions, but then as I thought – we did/do.
Christmas really hasn’t changed much since I was a child. We went to church and afterwards headed over to my grandparents houses. I didn’t consider going to church on Christmas day a Christmas tradition at first, because to me it was like going to church on any other Sunday or Easter Sunday, or Palm Sunday. Perhaps the only real difference was service was a bit longer because we had a Christmas production.
My parents would rouse my sister and me early Christmas morning. Mind you I’m not a morning person any day of the week, so waking me before the sun comes up is harrowing experience. My mother would lay out our Christmas dresses with the velvet belt laid out, along with what I call the white orthopedic tights and black patent shoes the night before. I remember sitting down getting my hair done, which was a battle because my hair is soooo thick and I hate having my hair pulled, but my dear old mom would brush, tug, and pull until my eyebrows were able to have a conversation with my hairline. Then she put some ribbon in my hair. Grrr. Hated it. I’m not a girly girl and sometimes it was just more than I could bear.
After church we’d head over to the grandparents. This was perhaps the best part of Christmas. My mother would pack a change of clothes for my sister and me and once over her mother’s house the instructions were to, ‘get out of your good clothes and put on your play clothes.’ My sister and I would scurry upstairs where we’d find a host of cousins getting out of their good clothes and into their play clothes, then we’d all hurry back downstairs sounding like Roll of Thunder on Veteran’s Day. Someone, usually grandma, would belt out ‘Stop running’, which we promptly did.
Grandma would already have some type of meal prepared and we’d line up (everyone exempt me, I’ll get to that in a minute) and the grown ups had already organized the assembly line. So the kids would one by one go through this line and each get a plop of this and a plop of that and once all the plops were on the plate and running together they would eagerly sit in the assigned kids area and commence chowing down. Well, that and I mean all the plops running together on the plate grossed me out and as a result I would never eat so having learned the lesson my mother would fix my plate so that nothing touched (and yep I’m still like that today).
After we ate it was present opening time. Oh the booty I came away with. I tell you those grown ups really knew how to spoil us. Then we’d head outside – yes outside – all bundled up and play until it was time to go to the next destination. In my case it was to my father’s parents house. As soon as you walked in you were greeted by the smell of sweet rolls cooking and my grandfather’s pipe. The first question grandma would ask is if we were hungry. We may not have been, but you dared not say no. Again the assembly line was formed and again my mother fixed my plate. And typically the only thing I ever ate off the plate was the sweet roll. Mmm Mmm good.
With bellies full and arms full of presents we’d head home to do it all over again with just my mother, sister, father and me. And after eating my mother’s peach cobbler, I’d curl up in my dad’s lap and fall asleep.
Some of the traditions have changed over the years. Like I don’t fall asleep in my father’s lap anymore and my mother has stopped making her peach cobbler because there’s no one there to eat it, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is that we still go to church, take a change of clothes to grandma’s house and reveal in each other’s company.