Monday, December 17, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things

A few of my favorite holiday things:

1.  Memories.

Remembering the Christmas tree at Grandma's house with the presents piled high around it.  Walking up on Christmas morning knowing that Santa had left me a "special" gift but that also all the stockings for everybody in the family had been filled with silly little trinkets.  Daddy going off to work at the Kansas City Star and counting the minutes until he would get back home around two p.m. so we could finally have dinner.  And then -- PRESENTS under Granny's Christmas tree.  Granny's sister, Aunt Frances, coming from Laramie, Wyoming for the best week of the year. 

Me, Granny, Grandpa, Mother, and Dad -- Aunt Frances always took the pictures -- probably around 1960.

As an adult, the best Christmases have been at Wendy's house in Houston. We arrive at her home after an 800 mile drive to find the tree decorated and the nutcrackers all in place. As a family, we spend Christmas Eve wrapping the presents that have come from all over, laughing at the amount of gifts, even though every year we swear we are cutting back.  Hubby makes fruit salad and potato salad for Christmas dinner.  And after the presents and the Christmas food, we Go to the movies on Christmas night with Wendy's friend, Cynthia. 

2010 -- Nutcrackers in Houston

2.  Music.

I love singing Christmas carols.  For many years it was listening to Hubby sing the Messiah and going caroling with whichever choir he was directing.   Now we play Christmas CDs all the way across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas and have a marathon sing-a-long with the varied artists.  Wherever we visit in Houston, Wendy,. Hubby and I sing all the verses of whatever carols we can remember. 

Hubby is in the foreground -- directing; I'm 3rd from right with my head turned away from the camera -- 2004 at our Christmas pageant / play

3.  Christmas Eve.

There's something so wonderful about the expectations of the day/night before Christmas.  The anticipation makes it all the better believing that every dream might just come true.  As a kid, my mother always had Christmas Eve dinner and I could choose the menu.  It never varied -- meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, jello salad, Granny's nut bread made only on Christmas, and then we'd pass around the boxes of Christmas candy that each family made that year. Granny made fondant, Aunt Frances brought a nutty type fudge, and Mother made brittle covered in chocolate.  Plus we always had a variety of cookies.  And then -- the best dessert of all -- we'd serve up tiny plates of my father's family recipe of suet pudding covered in hard sauce, a true Welch delicacy.  After dinner we'd stuff the turkey and after the turkey was complete, we'd fill the stockings, mine among them -- but Santa's gift was always a surprise on Christmas morning. Granny, Grandpa, and I would end the evening at church with me singing in the youth choir of the year.  No carol is more lovely than Silent Night sung at midnight in candlelight. 

Christmas eve dinner at our house -- Dad has his back to the camera, to his right is his mother (she died in 1954), then mother's father, mother, Granny, me -- and people I remember so clearly but have no idea how we were related -- the Paterson family (Betty, Pat and his mother -- from Colorado); Aunt Frances is, of course, taking the picture. 
Now, we usually wrap the presents from KC on Christmas Eve.  Now-a-days, I buy the gifts on-line and have them mailed throughout the year to Houston.  Wendy loves beautiful wrapping and even has a room upstairs partially dedicated to wrapping implements.  I'm most likely to dump things in sacks or pre-wrapped boxes but we always manage quite an array under Wendy's tree.  

2010 -- gift and nutcracker array in Houston
Music, Christmas Eve wonder, and the memories piled up from my 66 holidays -- these are the treasure of my yuletide.  Our family may be very, very small -- but I'm eternally grateful that through all my years, I only had to survive one Christmas alone.  Presents, festive decorations, beautiful music and traditional foods are all wonderful things that make Christmas special.  But family is the glue that holds the Christmas album together in my memories. 

Wendy, Hubby, and Gussie getting ready to enjoy Christmas morning. 

1 comment:

Margaret said...

I love your photos and memories of Christmas, but it's a painful time for me right now. I don't even want to think about any of my own memories of the holiday.