“For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”

The day is warm but rainy and dreary. The temperature, though, is due for a radical change: from the 50’s of this morning to the 30’s tonight. I just hope the roads don’t freeze. The paper even mentioned the possibility of snow. If I were a little kid, I’ll keep checking out the window hoping to see flakes falling. It was always fun to be the first to yell. “It’s snowing!”

Last night Gracie was barking her intruder bark, and I could hear frantic knocking on my front door. I jumped out of bed and stood in the hall but heard nothing. I turned and saw Gracie asleep on the bed. I realized I had been dreaming so I rejoined Gracie and went back to sleep.

Yesterday I wrapped again and am down to two unwrapped presents. I like this leisurely approach. Tonight I’ll finish up and put away all the paper and tags until next year. My presents, from my two sisters, are in the living room. Some are under the trees and others are arranged in front of the table, an arrangement being a genetic trait. I remember Christmas mornings and coming downstairs and my first look through the bannister. The tree was always lit, and the presents were arranged in front of it. My brother’s gifts were to the left then came mine then each of my two sisters’ gifts. Santa never wrapped our gifts. That made sense to me as I doubted he and the elves had time. They were too busy making the gifts. Games were upright in front. One year my brother’s new bike was in the kitchen, a surprise. He was sent to get matches and did so in the dark and didn’t even see his bike. My parents sent him back and told him to turn on the light. I remember his yelp at seeing his bike. We’d each sit in front of our spots and check out our gifts one by one. We’d show my parents who would act surprised. I don’t remember ever being disappointed.

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24 Comments on ““For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We’ll have windy, warm and rainy weather here till at least a few days after the new year has started. I don’t mind but it would be nice with less rain and storms though ::-)

    We were always allowed to open up a few gift already in the morning, I guess it was some kind of bribe so my mother could sleep longer on Christmas eve 🙂 Butthe rest of the day depended on where we would celebrate Chhristmas. If we were driving far we only took a few gifts with us but if we were at my grandparents all gifts was brought along with us 🙂

    I’ve just taken out the Christmas ham from the oven and it isn’t the best I’ve tasted but not the worst either. I’ll know better after putting on thge mustard and under the grill tomorrow 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      The rain started when I was out doing my errands. I was surprised at how uncrowded the roads were.

      We always opened the presents in the morning except for those pajamas. My parents always looked exhausted to Christmas morning.

      I am a ham fan but don’t have it much as many of my fans don’t like it, and I seldom cook it for myself.

  2. Hedley Says:

    The Ice Storm, The Chapel and Wrapping Gifts

    And so the ice descended on Saturday night causing water to drip down from the roof in to the awaiting pans on the altar at St John Fisher Chapel. The Faithful watched the fourth advent candle being lit and struggled out on to pathways becoming an ice rink.

    Meanwhile down the Chateau, Mrs MDH and I watched ice form on everything and enjoyed heat light and a warm Saturday evening. Enough of that nonsense and early on Sunday morning down went electric and all the services that Comcast brings to our home.

    So we wrapped and wrapped and wrapped and got it done in the “cool” of the house and illuminated by natural light. And the conversation turned to the whole issue of wrapping.

    * We wrap everything, gifts, stuff from the Jolly Fat Guy, the contents of stockings. everything.
    * growing up neither Mrs MDH nor I had stockings, well I got one once.
    * I got one gift at Christmas from my Mum and Dad, Mrs MDH relied on the good fellows but did not know for many years
    * We never created separate piles under the tree, always one big pile and each item is opened separately.

    I mentioned casually in passing to Mrs MDH and one of my sisters, that in 1964 I really could have done with a Johnny Seven OMA – and that one of our friends got one – Must have been Vincent Davey said my sister. She was right.

    All good things including power returned to our home. Tomorrow we will celebrate midnight mass at the fashionable hour of 9.00 pm. I will try to put thoughts of a Johnny Seven and ice behind me and address what this time of year means to my family.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Warm weather and now rain here. It is an ugly dark day, but I was glad went out as the roads were pretty quiet, and I managed to find parking spaces.

      Glad your electricity came back. I remember when people in New Hampshire went weeks after an ice storm a few years back, and how I went without it for days and the house got to 37˚ before the heat came back on.

      Because ours weren’t wrapped, there were mainly piles because of my two sisters close in age who had similar gifts. Mine and my brothers were easy to identify. When we were older, everything got wrapped including the stocking stuffers. My mother was the champion stocking stuffer. We always got a lot of presents, and it was mother who saw to it. My father came from an underwear and new socks family.

      Why do they still call it midnight mass?

      I so love Christmas!!

      • Hedley Says:

        I think we are calling it the Christmas Vigil. Father Jerry did finish the service on Saturday speculating on how many phone calls the office would receive asking what time Midnight Mass began. In our little corner its 9.00 pm

      • katry Says:

        My Dear Hedley,
        My parish has three masses on Christmas Eve: 4 and 6 and the traditional one at midnight. I loved finally being old enough to go to that one when I was in high school.

  3. Bob Says:

    In recent years we stopped wrapping our kids gifts. They would just rip open the carefully wrapped gift and throw the ribbons and bows on the floor. We decided it’s better to hide them and just hand them the gift. There are useless industries that surround holidays. Gift wrapping paper and ribbons along with greeting cards must fill some kind of need that I don’t understand. I personally like giving gift cards (let them pick there own gifts) and digital greetings via cards or via Email. I can’t remember ever receiving a gift that I really wanted. I always felt like the character Ralph in “A Christmas Story” who received the pink bunny PJs from his aunt. I can’t remember feeling like he did when he got the Daisy Red Rider BB gun. With gift cards the receiver can buy what they really want during the really big sale between Christmas and New Years.

    • Bob Says:

      BTW a happy Festivus to everyone. If you don’t know about this holiday here’s a URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festivus

    • katry Says:

      I give my brother-in-law gift cards as he hates most things so I figure he can pick something out for himself. I give my nieces and nephews a few small gifts and money. They are happy with my choices. My sisters and friends get surprises wrapped in lovely paper.

      I love the look of the wrapped presents under the tree, and I always take the time to wrap with pretty ribbons.

      Greeting cards are a way to wish everyone you don’t see too often a Merry Christmas. I always write a little note inside personal for each person.

      I seldom got gifts I didn’t want and would be hard-pressed to name one.

    • im6 Says:

      I feel really bad for you, Bob. And for your kids. No wrapping? No ribbons? No greeting cards? I don’t mean to come across as critical, but it seems you may be missing some of the mystery and joy of the day/season. Wrapped presents with their colorful wrapping and big bows… shake, shake, shake… what could be in there? A card from a long, lost friend or even from someone you see several times a year but fail to let them know how much you appreciate their friendship? Getting/giving a special gift some real thought has been given to and chosen especially for you/another? Sure, you may sometimes have to fake it and pretend you like a present, but it’s hard to be displeased with good intentions. I used to dread the holidays because it meant being shuffled between two households/families, but I’ve grown to love Christmas and all it symbolizes — warm wishes, goodwill toward mankind, love that often isn’t expressed nearly enough. I hope you receive some of that this year, Bob. I’m sure you’re getting plenty of love from your Coffee family! So Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous year to come!

      • Bob Says:

        Once they have passed the age of six or seven they didn’t care about the wrappings. They just wanted the gifts. My favorite thing to do on Christmas Day is to go to the movies and then eat Chinese food. Sometimes, we eat the Chinese food first and then go to an afternoon movie. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        That’s opposite what we did. Younger meant no wrapping while everything was wrapped when we got older. I thought it was more fun not seeing right away what we had. My parents loved watching us unwrap so they could see our surprise.

        I just checked the movie times and there are none in the afternoon on Christmas day. My friend and I were going to go, but we won’t go now as the earliest is at 7:00. We’re having a roast.

      • katry Says:

        Applause! Applause!

        I totally agree with your Christmas sentiments. I’d add the fun teasing we do about the presents. “You’re going to love your present. Wait until you see what I got you.”Even my mother enjoyed the fun.

        My sister calls every day around Christmas excited about the preparations and giving me an update on how far she’s gotten, her menu and plans for the day.

        I love Christmas.

  4. im6 Says:

    A song of the day from me. This one just makes me happy. Fun and just a little off-kilter!

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Santa didn’t wrap our gifts, either. I’m certain it was done so that our parents could sleep a bit later on Christmas morning. They’d been up until well after midnight wrapping all the other things. Well, my father had been wrapping and constructing (if needed) and my mother had been cooking.
    Anyway, we’d have our toys and would play happily and quietly until they came down around 8AM at which point we would have to get ready for church. No, we could not take any of our new stuff to church with us no matter how often we asked and we asked every year.

    It’s cold and rainy. Earlier I went up to Newburyport to visit my brother. As I was driving north I began to notice that the trees were looking very icy. They had had freezing rain in the morning but fortunately it was melted by the time I had to go up there. No ice at my house though.

    Enjoy the evening and a Happy Festivus to one and all.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      The wrapped gifts under the tree, a couple of them, were from my parents. The rest were from Santa, and they were the ones unwrapped. Seeing those toys under the tree was jaw dropping.

      My parents went to midnight mass so we went with friends in the morning, the earlier the better, so we could play with our toys all day.

      It’s raining here too and starting to get cold. We were far warmer than Boston all day but the cold has finally made its way here.

      The rain was so heavy my outside lights on one side of the house are out and it’s too rainy to go out. I’ll fix them tomorrow.

      Happy Festivus to you too!

  6. Birgit Says:

    Every gift has to be wrapped.
    (Is this a variation of the tinsel discussion???)

    • katry Says:

      Only the gifts from family were wrapped for us.

      Yes, I think this and the tinsel discussion will never be in agreement!

  7. Cuidado Says:

    My four siblings and I each had a couple of gifts wrapped under the tree from our parents but Santa’s gifts arrived unwrapped.

    My most memorable gift was a quite large box that was addressed to my brother AND me. I was perhaps eleven or twelve and he was two and a half years younger. We couldn’t imagine what our parents would give us that we would both like or want. We were allowed to shake it as much as we wanted.

    On Christmas morning neither of us even saw our stockings or what Santa had left for us. We just wanted to open that big box. I still remember and feel the excitement. We excitedly ripped it open and found two skate boxes wrapped together.

    All I wanted for Christmas that year was the fabulous blue skates that were advertised in the Eaton’s and Simpson Sear’s catalogues and that was what was in my box. I loved those skates so much and wore them out by the time I outgrew them. Do you remember the blue skates that were popular in the sixties?

    That brother of mine died at Christmas of leukemia when he was 27. He had loved his skates that year too and we mentioned them every year as the best Christmas Present we ever got.

    We had three storms last week and I have to make up some days for work so am working this morning and Boxing Day. My work is a pleasure to me so I do not mind having to do it at all.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Kat and coffee friends and my wish above all is for Peace.

    • katry Says:

      That was pretty tricky on your parents’ part. Even my sister would probably have had difficulty in her guessing game. I had white skates as did everyone I knew. I don’t remember the blue ones. My favorite skate story is about my sister her got her first pair. We all went to the swamp near my house to skate. Afterwards my sister came home and threw the skates on the floor. She didn’t want them. She wanted skates like her friend Karen had. Karen’s didn’t bend over at the ankles the way my sister’s did.

      That’s such a wonderful Christmas story to be able to tell. It keeps your brother close.

      Cuidado, may you also have a wonderful Christmas!

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