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Nov 16, 2020 09:47AM
Family holiday traditions, I never really thought of it like that but...as a kid Christmas Eve always meant going to Grandpa's for a meal, then a few of us kids hung out in the living room looking at the tree, maybe watching something festive on t.v., and waiting, waiting, waiting (while the grown-ups drank some Christmas cheer, maybe played Uno or some kind of card game, having loud arguments over who was cheating) and interrupting them every five minutes with "Can we open our presents yet?" After about an hour, the grownups came in and arranged themselves on various sofas and chairs, and my aunts passed around present from under the tree til everyone had one and then we more or less simultaneously opened them. My uncle would always pause to guess what every single one of his gifts were. He took so long (two minutes that felt like 20) that even the grownups were saying, "Just open it already!" It was kind of annoying that he was right 98% of the time. After that frenzy, the grownups could then smoke and drink in peace for another hour or two while we played with some new toys. At a younger age, I was probably carried to the car asleep, but at an older age I was always expected to give Grandpa a hug and kiss goodbye (and that always served to verify how much boozier he was than when I had greeted him on arrival.)
Christmas morning would be at my own house. Yes, I woke up before first light, checked in the living room to see if Jolly Old St. Nick had been lured by our ruse of a cardboard fireplace into making a stop, and then reporting to mom, "Santa came, Santa's been here!" Mom knew how to buy herself some time by telling me I could take down my stocking. Thanks to that faux fireplace, I had one hanging on by a big thumbtack. My stocking usually had an orange and walnuts in it (filler!) and those wrapped hard candies that had a soft jelly center (imported from Germany or Poland) but it would also have some amazing trinkets like Silly Putty, tiny bone china dog figures, tiny 2" square book of fairy tales, animal shape erasers, one of those wooden stringed figured that if you pressed the base, it would collapse. Those little things bought my mom at least 20-30 minutes more of sleep and so the sun was at least approaching the horizon when she got up. I think the routine was for mom to delight in me opening the gifts from Santa, and then we would open our family gifts together. My dad was there somewhere, late to the party, and not interested in opening his gifts because (direct quote here) "None of them look big enough to be a Caddy." Buzzkill is putting it mildly.
I had some gifts from out of state relatives under the tree. One year, my uncle sent me a Superball (original black one) before they were even in the local store, so I was the first kid on the block to have one. My aunt always made homemade divinity fudge, a treat I could not really appreciate as a kid, but she truly was a good cook and baker and I would kill for her recipe now.
Sorry, I know I wrote about three times more than anyone else but, for those who don't realize it, I've always thought of this thread as a hedge against the day I get one of those dementias, so forgive me.
MT, Your ex-in-laws were real sophisticates!
6/24/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-