Posted tagged ‘wrapped presents’

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”

December 24, 2014

It’s raining, and it’s 50˚, but none of that matters. It’s Christmas Eve. When I was a kid, it was the longest day of the year. The clock never seemed to move. I remember begging my mother to let me go to bed around six or seven. Tired had nothing to do with it. I was filled with anticipation, and I remember believing sleeping the night away was the quickest way to get to morning and to Santa’s surprises. It, of course, was always the one night I could never get to sleep. I remember having conversations with my brother down the hall while both of us were still in bed in our own rooms. Periodically my mother would yell up the stairs for us to stop talking so we could go to sleep. I used to wonder why she didn’t realize sleep was far away on Christmas Eve. Hers was a silly request.

Every year my mother put a few presents under the tree. Every year my sister Moe poked tiny holes in each present to see what was there. It was during these hole poking days she developed an aptitude for guessing exactly what each wrapped present was. Holes were no longer necessary. One Christmas is legendary. She was going to a Christmas party with Rod, my brother-in-law, and had nothing to wear. She felt a few presents from my parents and found her outfit, felt a few more and found new earrings to match her dress. She called to thank my mother who then became the tale bearer of my sister’s latest Christmas miracle.

We could open one present on Christmas Eve, but we never got to pick the present. We always had to open the pajamas. New pajamas were part of our Christmas tradition.

I can still see the tree at 16 Washington Ave. in its usual corner with the wrapped gifts underneath, the ones from my parents and grandparents, the ones with the tiny holes. The lights in the windows seemed especially brilliant on Christmas Eve. TV Santa, the one from New Hampshire we watched every afternoon, wished us a Merry Christmas, waved and left for his big adventure around the world. We hung our stockings on the railing going upstairs. We had no chimney. We watched a Christmas show or two on TV then we went to bed. Eons later we all fell asleep.

Today is still all about tradition. This morning I opened number 24 on my Advent calendar. It is the crèche scene, the same as it always is. This afternoon I will work on tomorrow’s dinner, and tonight my friends and I will build gingerbread houses, eat some appies and have a drink or two. That’s one of our favorite Christmas traditions.

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you’re all on the good list.


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