A Stripped Down Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!  Whether this is a holiday you celebrate or not, may this season find you and yours well and happy.

Here it is a quiet Christmas morning.  It is the most quiet Christmas I have ever experienced.  Pandora is playing Christmas music in the background, the cats are padding through the room, the coffee pot is perking, and (if I listen closely) I can hear The Bearded One snoring in the bedroom.  Breakfast is ready to be baked, The Ultimate Breakfast Casserole from Chickens in the Road (I heartily recommend it!  Both egg-lovers and egg-dislikers enjoy this recipe!)

This year we “celebrated Christmas” with our daughters in October when we were all able to get together in New Jersey.  They are each spending time with in-laws or boyfriend families this year.  I know the challenge of trying to split holidays between families and enjoy spending time with the girls anytime…it does not have to be tied to a specific calendar date.

I have already had the first call from my daughter who has two young sons.  They were awake at 4 AM and had to wait until 6 AM before going downstairs to see what Santa had wrought.  They are already at the post-wrapping paper snowstorm stage and are assembling toys and sorting gifts from scrap paper while breakfast preparations take place.

Ah, brings back many memories 0f Christmases of my youth…my mother was “Little Merry Christmas” (she did Christmas so well!):

  • Putting up the Christmas tree…the torture of waiting for the fresh tree to be able to be brought in the house and the branches to “fall” enough to be decorated.  Then my Dad putting on the lights, beer in hand.  Only then could the decorations be placed (under the scrutiny of my Mom – it had to be perfect) and then the tinsel.  (Tinsel was torture.  It had to be hung just right – three even strands on a branch.  Then, after Christmas, the tinsel strands were carefully taken off and wrapped over cardboard to be stored for the next year!)
  • The wonderful smell of a Christmas tree when you are young…torturing you for days with the dreams of gifts to come.
  • Christmas night.  Butterflies in my stomach. Trying to sleep so Santa would come but sleep was impossible!  How did Santa ever find the brief moment I must have slept?
  • Christmas morning.  Mounds of gifts under the tree.  Santa wrapped our gifts in white shelf paper.  Each child had a different color ribbon on our packages.  Each of us had a mound of gifts…the same number of presents for each.  We took turns opening gifts…it took a long time.  My mother smiling knowingly, my dad sipping coffee and being surprised at the contents of each package (and he was truly surprised since he had no part in the shopping).
  • The car trip to my Grandparents’ homes on Christmas eve.  Looking at all the Christmas lights in the towns as we traveled through them in the dark.

    My sister, Carol, and I with our parents at my Grandparents' house on Christmas. Apolgies to my sister, Pat, for not being able to find a picture with her in it! She was way too cute when she was little anyway.

  • The time we opened our gifts from Santa at my Grandmother’s house hours from home.  I received lots of Barbie clothes but no Barbie!!!  Luckily, when we got home we found out that Santa had left me the Barbie there…
  • The one gift my father did shop for each year was the gift for my Mom.  Generally, he did his shopping at the last possible moment.  One year he bought my mother a nightgown at JC Penneys on Christmas eve.  It was folded and packaged when he bought it.  He just wrapped it up.  When she opened the package on Christmas morning and unfolded the nightgown to admire it, she found that the lovely looking yellow gown had a huge tomato printed on the front!  Dad had no idea!  Needless to say, that gift was exchanged and Dad never lived it down!
  • My mother’s huge cookie spread for Christmas!  She pulled from Tupperware and tins she had been filling for weeks and covered our dining table with treats.  Her Grandchildren still dream of those cookies!
  • Midnight church service on Christmas Eve.  One year we were fairly late in arriving and the only seats available were in the front pew.  Somehow at some point in the service, something struck one of us as funny and we all got the giggles.  I remember almost crying in the effort to keep from laughing aloud.

So, now we will exchange our presents, have our breakfast and enjoy a quiet day together, feasting later in the day.    A peaceful day.  Merry Christmas and may peace find us all.

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About Retired woman

retired, dealing with parents recent deaths, wondering what lies ahead with the health of my spouse, overall enjoying each day, love cooking, gardening, travel, Grandsons, family, small town life
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2 Responses to A Stripped Down Christmas

  1. Carol says:

    Such wonderful memories….we had a quiet Chrismas as well, sharing Christmas Eve with Gail our next door neighbor who was alone, and Christmas day with Peter Bracke, our 89 year old adopted grandfather, who lost his wife in May. Our Christmas Eve meal the traditional chicken sandwiches, potato salad and baked beans with “Chip Dip” and our Christmas day with a beef rib roast. We had a cookie table and shared many stories. Our tree is beautiful–I am so glad we put it up.
    Now the new traditional “fight the weather and try to get to Aruba” escapade has begun. It looks like Norfolk is getting pounded with snow–flights cancelled today. Will they get out tomorrow??? Have “the bear” work on their travel!

  2. Retired woman says:

    The Bear is on it! How do you manage to choose a date that is challenging each year? If it is any comfort the storm is supposed to be over in NJ in the morning so Norfolk should have been in the clear much sooner. Hopefully the have a plow or two at the airport! Have a great time!

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