Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas-- His, Mine, and Ours

We've been celebrating Christmas for several days now. LovelyDaughter and JD traveled to Oklahoma to visit his family for Christmas, so we planned to have Christmas at our house on Saturday. So Christmas Day at our house I finally put up our Christmas decorations (!!!), and we invited our friends Swede and MandoNut over for Christmas supper. I put a turkey in the electric roaster, and made mashed potatoes, giblet gravy (which I am very proud of, because it turned out WONDERFUL), green beans with mushrooms, tweiback, and pumpkin pie; and we had cranberry sauce on the side. It was very good-- I love it when the food turns out great.

The day after Christmas, Hubby and I went shopping to finish off our Christmas list. The newlyweds got home that afternoon, and in the evening we prepared for Christmas.

Our traditional celebration is based on what Hubby grew up with. On the night before Christmas, we set the table with our nicest tablecloth and good dishes. Each person puts a clean bandana over their plate, and hangs a sock on the back of their chair.

After the kids are asleep, Hubby and I put the gifts--unwrapped-- on the plates, covered by the bandanas, and fill the stockings. I fill the stockings with the ordinary stuff--candy, dried fruit, other little goodies-- but our twist is that we use pistachios and tangerines, instead of the traditional peanuts and oranges and apples.

In the morning, we gather around the table and take turns emptying our stockings and uncovering our gifts. Then we eat our traditional Christmas breakfast: Golden Grahams!

After we eat, then we all go sit by the woodstove, and read the Christmas story, and then the kids give their gifts to each other.

This year, after our own little celebration we went to Hubby's folks' house for ham and verenike, and a gift exchange, with the rest of the family.

We don't always do both gatherings on the same day, but often we do, and we did this year. So yesterday was a long day, particularly since this year I was up at 6:30 to make four pies and a batch of bread before the kids were up!

This is very different from Christmas with my family when I was growing up.

On Christmas Eve, my mom and dad and brother and I went to my dad's side of the family for a potluck supper. I don't remember any particular traditional food, except I remember that one aunt used to often bring something called "Green Rice," a dish made of rice, and cheese, and broccoli, and I always liked it. After the meal we all migrated to the church for the Christmas Eve service (Grandpa was the pastor of the church) and after that we trooped back to the house for gift-opening. We drove home late, in the dark, the streets lit up by Christmas lights. My brother and I used to watch for our favorite houses.

Early the next day, my family drove across town in the dark morning to my mom's parents' house, past all the Christmas lights again, to open gifts before breakfast, and find apples and nuts and peanuts and candy-- and sometimes money-- in our stockings. Later in the day we had the full traditional turkey dinner, starting with Grandpa's special punch, and concluding with pumpkin and mince pies.

I treasure my childhood memories; I treasure the memories I have made for my children. I'm looking forward to making memories for grandchildren. Every year it gets better.


Sarah said...

I miss Grandpa's punch! :( Christmas isn't the same without it.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I always love reading about your family traditions (like this and the new year cookies).