Thursday, December 27, 2012
A Christmas to Remember Part One
Welcome readers. I have been writing with Storytime for a month or so now. When the opportunity to write something for December came about I couldn’t resist. Here is what I have brought you for today and tomorrow. Please join me.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, or joyful Holidays from my family to yours. ~ Misty Harvey
A Christmas to Remember
Growing up in my family meant huge Christmas Eve parties. I don’t mean those family parties that are spread out over December. I mean a time honored tradition that you can count on. Every December 24th a family member’s house that has been previously decided upon for the party, usually whichever of us has the most space. On this day we pack our families into the space like sardines. Sure it gets hot, even on cold winter days. But this is a tradition for us. The parties are circled around the children.
Food always came first. If you were a child you shoved that food down as quickly as you could. The faster you ate, the faster you could play the games, and eventually open a gift. Problem with this logic, the adults never see fit to eat fast. So there you are forced to sit and wait for the adults to finish chatting and eating. Your stomach is aching from the speed you ate the food, but you’d never admit it to an adult. Oh no, if you were sick, there were no games, and ultimately no sugary treats. So you’d walk around a bit more hunched, but hey it was Christmas.
Eventually, the parents would all deem they’d eaten enough with twinkles in their eyes. They know their children rushed to get to the fun things, and they took a certain joy out of tormenting their young just that much farther. Oh yes, never underestimate how aware a parent is of your Christmas excitement on that day. After all they were young once too.
Now it was time for the games to commence. Parents would somehow make room in the already cramped quarters. As I sit now an adult and look back on these Christmas Eve parties, I’m still not sure how they did it. I don’t know if parents just clung to walls like some sort of Spiderman or if they simply used vanished. Either way suddenly there was space for games.
There have been a variety of festive games that have passed through our Christmas parties over the years. Ones like pin the nose on Rudolph, relay races of every flavor, or even a fake snowball throwing one. A brightly colored frosty would taunt us from the other side of the room. Holes cut out in his stomach and one on either side of his head. His stomach gained you the most points at a whopping ten. The rules simple the one with the most points wins. We’d all throw ourselves into the games with reckless abandonment. Oh yes, well I beat this one. That was until my older sibling came along and beat us both at the game. The winner gained a prize, but let’s face it, in my family every child got a ‘winners’ prize. The games were rigged for it, not that as a child you paid attention. These are trade secrets I have learned since becoming an adult.
After all of the kids are wound tight making all sorts of noise, then and only then was it time to unwrap those gleaming packages under the tree. There is always a present for everyone, young and old, rich and poor family under there. If you are the youngest your eyes lit up bright, it meant you are the first to open. We’d somewhat impatiently wait as your one year old cousin takes forever to open their package. The oohs and aahs would occur and then it was on to the next.
Once the tree is bare of gifts, the children have all moved to the side to play with whatever they received, and only the adults are left admiring each other’s gifts. That is when every female descends upon the food filled tables. They work like a well oiled machine covering the products. Cold items are put in the fridge, warm items are cooling ready for transport, and the cleanup has begun. The house is left in a somewhat orderly condition, and then the parents pack up their sugar filled bundles of joy. The warnings of you have to go to sleep when we get home or Santa will not come begin. Oh yes, the poor parents. Sugar induced hyperness and bedtime were not a great combination.
These are the traditions that have been passed for many generations in my family. Each generation puts a slightly different spin on them. I participate as a child not that many years ago, just as my children participate now. Though a few of them have out grown the child aspect to it, and now are learning the trade secrets themselves. One day to pass it down to their children.
Tonight is Christmas Eve. The food has been inhaled. The games have all been finished, and the gifts have all been opened. Children are tucked in beds awaiting the jolly man. I sit watching my tree and I remember a Christmas Eve I will not soon forget. Join me tomorrow and I will share this journey with you.