Growing up Christmas was a huge thing. We waited till the Sears and JC Penney catalogs showed up and studied the pages many times picking out the toys that would be written on our Christmas list. One year Mouse Trap was on the list, another year Barbie's theater. One of my favorite years was getting my first 2 wheel bike. I came odwn the hall and around the corner into the living room. There parked in front of the tree was a shiny new turquoise Schwin bike. I loved that bike. It took me all over the neighborhood and gave me the freedom that kids seek.
Our family gathering on Christmas was also a huge thing. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and more were all brought together to celebrate. After the meal the "women folk" would clean up the dishes while the men took a nap in front of the TV. As kids we waited with great expectation because about 4pm a miracle would happen every year. Santa stopped by the house on his way back to the north pole to visit with us and drop off a few more gifts. Can you imagine! Santa actually stopped by to see us. It was thrilling! Before we could get the presents, we had to perform for him. You had to sing, read a poem, play the piano or some other performance for Santa and the rest of the family. It was such a special time.
After Santa left, the kids would pass out the presents under the tree to everyone. Piles grew in front of each person and once the last present was passed out we would take turns - starting with the youngest - opening presents. Each person opened their present showed it to everyone then the next youngest would open a present. There was always an arguement with the adults as to who was actually older but always with laughter and joy. When the presents were all opened it was time for supper. The day ended with very tired but happy children and adults packing up presents to return to their own homes.
Those were the good old days. Now, we have grown and Santa no longer comes to visit us. We will all get together and enjoy the day with family - my aunt and uncle, the cousins and cousin's children. The grandparents and others of the next generation are no longer with us but stories of Christmas past will be told. At some point we will tell the story of Russell, the little boy who lived next door to my aunt, seeing Santa and rushing into the house to meet him. This year will be a quieter year because we've had a few deaths recently. We are a family that loves Christmas and loves the chance to get together and share. Yup, it will be quieter but filled with love and family.
I have a Christmas wish for all of you - that you will take time to enjoy family and friends, share stories and find the joy and excitement of the season that we had as children.