Thursday, December 15, 2011

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES - Reply to Foggy Brain

Thanks to @myfoggybrain many fun memories of my past Christmas' came forward and brought a smile to my face!  Please check out her blog at 

Christmas memories....the first one that comes to mind is how ticked my dad would get putting up the lights.  It used to really bug me, but when I became an adult and had to do my own tree lights, I realized why.  My parents were very simple with their life.  It was nice, and comfortable, but simple.  The styrofoam candy cans wrapped with red ribbon always adorned the metal gates into the living room, the fake tree on the porch with plastic tear drop shaped decorations and pretend wrapped presents under the tree. Our indoor tree was also "fake".  The decorations were the glass bulbs, some old ones my parents got when they got married in the early 50's, these angels made of felt and a plastic head, and the little glass horns I always tried to blow every year and got yelled out....didn't realize I could get hurt from them.  Maybe I can find some pictures?...hmmm.

She was not elaborate with her cooking, at all, coming straight from Beith, Scotland, when she was three, again, everything kept simple.  I think the only cookies we made were chocolate chip, and Grandma's Butter Cookies.  I have the original recipe, but unfortunately have not made this in at least 15 years.  The dough was made, and put through a cookie press (which I cannot find one that works good!).  All different shapes - poinsettas, camels, trees, and many more.  The were decorated with chopped walnuts, marachino cherries cut in half, chocolate sprinkles, red sugar sprinkles, and green sugar sprinkles. 

Although there isn't any real special tradition that sticks out, I think dinner was always at our house.  Very seldom relatives came over, as they had their own large families, but we DID pick up my grandmother from the nursing home and bring her to our house for Christmas.  This was my dad's mother.  She didn't speak much, but you could tell she enjoyed being at our home.  She loved her tea in my mom's china tea cups.  She said it tasted better, and she appreciated that my mom did that for her.  Even with the simplicity of it all, it created a magical feeling for me, which I continued and elaborated with my own family for many years.

I still believe in Santa; I believe that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and somehow I've managed to instill the real meaning of Christmas to my children, but kept the magic of Santa too.  We used to make cookies, but with 5 kids and a hectic life, that eventually stopped - their favorite cookies are the "candy cane" cookies, and my oldest still makes them with her son.

Our traditions have changed over the years.  For several years my mom and dad would stay at our house on Christmas Eve, and would leave mid morning Christmas Day.  We went to church Christmas Eve, and came home to our "Christmas Dinner".   Jesus was placed in the manger just before the kids went to bed.  The kids always woke before us, and they were allowed to get their stocking and open it until the adults got up and the coffee was ready.  There was so much excitement and joy in the air.  I never understood why my mom didn't really get gifts, and she was always happy with the one pair of stockings I gave her every year.  Once I became a mom, I realized that her gift was watching the joy and happiness of her children as they opened their gifts.  That is still my favorite part.

About 15 years ago we started to have our "Christmas Dinner" Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day food was and still is appetizers, leftover dinner, and mimosa.  That way we could stay in our pjs all day, watch our kids play, help them put together their gifts, play with them, and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, that our Savior Jesus Christ was born.

Because of our large family, Iglesias # 2  (Beckie), insisted we choose a holiday that was "ours" - no matter what, through the years, we needed a holiday where the whole family got together, no excuses.  We claimed Christmas Eve.  Now Chuck and I are the grandparents, all our kids and their kids come over.  We go to church, have our dinner, exchange gifts with our adult children and grandkids.  It still stands that only stockings can be opened in the wee hours of Christmas morn, until we get up and have the coffee ready.  Watching my kids open their gifts is a gift to me; it gives me such a special feeling, and I know I am truly blessed and thankful for the blessings in my life.  I reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and feel the peace and love envelop me.

I shared my memories - Please Share Yours!

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