Christmas in my family begins the day after Thanksgiving. Heck no, we don’t head to the mall; rather, my dad is finally allowed to start playing Christmas music. All of our usual CDs disappear and are replaced by dozens of Christmas CDs. Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, A Tender Tennessee Christmas and Handel’s Messiah fill the air. Non-Christmas music is strictly prohibited!
Then out come the Christmas decorations. And in our family it’s not just a wreath on the door or candles in the windows. Every inch of the houses is decorated. We have a Christmas gravy bowl, Christmas salt & pepper shakers and tacky Christmas trees that spin as they shine psychedelic fiber optic lights through plastic pine needles. The electricity bill usually doubles due to all the lights. This year my dad won a enormous inflatable Santa, complete with sun glasses, riding a motorcycle. “Sorry, Rudolph, but this Christmas I won’t be needing you…”
And the Christmas tree… when my dad was younger his family owned a Christmas tree stand and even long after the stand closed, they still drove up to the farm in Pennsylvania where they had bought the trees to get a special batch of Christmas trees just for the family. My dad usually picked out a 12 foot tree and then cut 2 feet off the bottom & top to get it to just barely fit in our house with 8 ft ceilings. The result, as you can imagine, is one FAT tree.
And traditions… we have plenty! Christmas Eve we always head to church and then go out for Chinese food. And then my dad stays up late doing the final touches (filling the stockings, placing candy canes on the Christmas tree) while everyone else is shooed off to bed.
Then Christmas morning finally arrives! We used to have a rule that the kids couldn’t go downstairs until 7am since we were usually awake and eager to open presents around 5am. So, we’d all scarf down some cereal and then head into the Christmas tree room. One of the kids would always read the story of Jesus birth from the Bible. Then Santa (daddy-O) and his elves (kiddos) would begin the distribution of presents. We always had the presents opened one at a time, so depending on how many relatives were visiting, it could take hours to open all the presents.
Then we’d leave the piles of wrapping paper behind and have our second breakfast – French toast made from homemade cinnamon bread, bacon, eggs, sausage, hot coffee and orange juice. Then we’d open stockings, do some elaborate candy-trading and then pig out on candy. Finally we’d have a few hours to lie comatose from the presents and food before heading over to Big Daddy’s house for a second round of both.
I love Christmas.
Things year things were slightly different since we were away in Ohio at my aunt & uncle’s house. But let me say it was a rockin’ Christmas. And Dan even got to be Santa… or should I say Father Christmas!