Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas here lasts for two days....

The affair with Christmas starts on Christmas Eve.  We all head to my brother Guy's, and eventually arrive two - three hours later.  This has been our ritual for at least 18 years now.  I still remember the first Christmas I experienced with my husband at my brother's.  We were engaged at the time, and I so thought I was giving him the perfect present.  An NFL football, and something signed by Joe Montana, oh, plus a membership to the 49'er fan club.  Yes, it was done in fun, my hubby to be, loved sports.  Add to this observation, any time we went to a toy store or sports place he would head for the footballs.  So perhaps it was not all done in jest on my part.  I still remember when he opened up the package...hmmm...the smile was a little less than I expected, but it was still there.  Then he gave me his present...oh my goodness, it was a beautiful hand made jewelry box.  Boy did I feel dumb not taking the giving a little bit more seriously.  In reality, I was very serious, the problem was I miss read the man.  We still laugh about that Christmas, to this day. 

That Christmas was the first time I ever played with a Barbie; my niece was very young at the time, and she noticed I was not enjoying the experience as much as she.  Nicole looked at me with the big wide eyes of a 6 year old and said, "Auntie Maxine, don't you like Barbie?"  She was shocked at my answer, but allowed me to continue playing with her.

Christmas Eve is the night we gather, to eat a beautiful meal, talk, drink wine and exchange gifts among each other.  Now that the kids outnumber the adults, or at least it seems that way, it becomes a frenzy of unwrapping gifts.  Instead of children, we watch experienced sharks, shredding their package wrappings.  They each look at the acquired gift, and quickly move on to the next.  At least that is the way of the younger ones. 

The older teenagers, know better, or at least they have become a little more sophisticated about the process.  You still hear the glee when the perfect gift is opened.  That is the gift that captures their attention for a long time.  Sometimes, they will even come over and give you a big hug along with the thank you.  That is when I know, I bought the correct item.  By this time we are wading in wrapping!  The beautifully decorated area, is now full, of kids, parents, grandparents and wrapping.  The toys are stacked neatly, or not so neatly somewhere so they will not be lost

The next day is Christmas, this is the morning that Santa leaves his stash of goodies for those who have been, good, and a lump of coal for those who have been less then good.  We are still at my brothers, who can have Christmas without a handful of kids.  Little Margo, she loves staying at the cousins.

Mark and I arrive back to the house at 7:00 AM or so, and find the room is dark.  The two littlest ones, have been awake for about 30 minutes or so this year. They are found snuggling in Auntie Cori's bed, waiting for our arrival.  Next the teenagers are awakened by two small girls.  Then, the rush, or run to the Christmas tree.  "Santa was here, Santa came!" are the shouts uttered by all of our lips.  Everyone in this house believes in Santa.

First the cookies and carrots are carefully examined.  "Look, the cookie has a bite taken out of it, and the carrots, they are partially eaten too."  The wonder of this little experience is noted in the voices of the youngest two.  So again, the Santa story is preserved one more year.  Passed down from one generation to the next.  At last, the gifts are found, and unwrapped, but the frenzy does not exist.  These gifts produce the oooo's and ahhs any Santa would enjoy.  We are all content with the choices by Santa.  Now the rest of the day is set before us.  Eating our traditional meat pie, with grandmanma's ketchup.  All made with love and spice, and everything nice,...and then we shall gather around the table and enjoy each other in that very special Christmas way. Christmas, something to always be cherished, for the complete two day celebration. 

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