Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. When I was a young girl, my family and I went to my maternal grandmother’s house in a Texas country community on Christmas Eve. Her home filled up quickly with her ten children and many grandchildren. Early Christmas morning my parents, brothers, and I got up early to open gifts and eat breakfast. Then we traveled about 30 miles to my paternal grandmother’s house for lunch and opened gifts with her, my aunt, and cousin. We stayed all day.
Early Christmas morning my parents, brothers, and I got up early to open gifts and eat breakfast. Then we traveled about 30 miles to my paternal grandmother’s house for lunch and opened gifts with her, my aunt, and cousin. We stayed all day.
There was an abundance of food and fireworks at the Christmas Eve gathering, and every person received a gift from my grandmother. She started shopping the beginning of January when things were marked down so low. I recall receiving stationery sets from her. She knew I loved to write. Even though we only lived about an hour from her, I sent her and my other grandmother letters.
How in the world we all fit into the little house she lived in, I do not know. The kitchen table filled up quickly with festive dishes, chicken and cornbread dressing, rolls, Pink Salad, chocolate pies (these are the dishes I recall that were what I liked best), and favorite recipes brought by each family.
The meal began with prayer, and we ate in shifts. That was so long ago that I don’t remember the order of the shifts, but it seems like I had to wait to eat so I think the men ate first and possibly the children next.
After the meal, fireworks began in the back yard. Whirling sparklers round and round highlighted the evening for me. My dad and uncles went outside the little house and helped all of us cousins pop the fireworks. The Christmas Eve family party has continued through the years. My parents began hosting them. Every year 80 to 100 family members attend.
I miss those times. Now I create new memories with my grandchildren like baking cookies. Today a friend gave me a gluten recipe for peanut butter cookies. I love doing spontaneous things like deciding to bake the cookies after talking with my friend. I had all the ingredients, just not enough. I improvised and ended up baking cookies with gluten because I didn’t have enough peanut butter for the right consistency. What made it fun, though, was that I surprised my family with cookies. When they walked in the door, they immediately said, “I smell peanut butter cookies baking.”
It’s those little joys that make the Christmas season so wonderful, simple little things that bring excited anticipation for the times of going to Grandma’s house or having Grandpa and Grandma come for the holidays.