My immediate family (parents and I) really didn't do anything traditional. It may have been that we lived far away from relatives, the lack of money or it could just be my failed memory. I've been racking my brains trying to think of something we did every year and cannot. Nothing more than me going to bed on Christmas eve, waking up on Christmas morning to finally be able to open up the gifts. Oh, yes, the one tradition was to be told "save one present for tomorrow." You see 'tomorrow' (the 26th) was my birthday. Somehow, I never was able to last out until tomorrow
However, the best Christmas I ever had was in 1958. My family had just moved down from Rhode Island to Virginia in August of that year. I think we had been settled in about 6 weeks when my Dad had to go out to his ship to finish up a Mediterranean cruise with the squadron he was newly assigned. Back then cruises were 9 months long, so he would be gone for the holidays. I don't know when my mother decided that she would spend this Christmas with our relatives in TN, but am so glad she did.
I have never helped decorate so many Christmas trees, tasted so many different types of holiday foods, from sweets to turkeys, nor seen/meet for the very first time many of my cousins. After almost 50 years, a lot of the faces have faded away, along with their names, I just remember the warm feeling I had being around everyone.
It was also the first time I realized what it was like having to go out to an outhouse in the dead of a very, very cold night. You didn't linger very long, that is for sure. My great-aunt and uncle owned a dairy farm, and although they had running water in the house, they had no toilet. What a rude awakening.
We slept over Christmas eve with my Dad's older brother and his wife. Only to be awakened at the first sign of light to "Merry Christmas, are you guys going to sleep all day?" That was my uncle. I have never, before that day, seen a grown man act like a 7 year old on Christmas morning. He was delightful, and something I will never ever forget. My uncle enjoyed his life to the fullest, he always saw good in everyone and kept a smile on his face.
The most recent best holiday memory I have was in 2000. I had only been married 6 months, and my new hubby wanted a surround sound system. Found one he wanted (he kept on looking at it every time we went into the store). So while we were away in Virginia for Thanksgiving at my daughter's house, I had my in laws buy it for me and keep it at their place. So on Christmas morning, I left a card under the tree, telling him his present was located somewhere else in the house, and it became a treasure hunt with 4 or 5 cards. The last card said we had to go to his parents house to retrieve the present. I think I pushed it too far (oops), he was not a happy camper. My in laws surprised me with little directions all over their house for him to follow. . . I have a feeling by the time he found his present and opened it up that if it wasn't a surround sound system I would have been in deep doo-doo. LOL
Anyway, folks have a happy holiday season, whether you have traditions or not, its a great time to be around family.
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