Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Christmas was a happy time for our family. We always spent Christmas Eve at home. Mom would put the turkey in the oven to begin its slow cook overnight. While Dad played board games with us, Mom made the pies. Soon the smell of roasting turkey made its way throughout the house.
"Would anyone like a snack of homemade fudge and a bowl of popcorn?" Mom asked as she started handing out our treats. A little while later we went to bed with the excitement of Santa coming to our house and leaving presents for us.
"One year, after we'd all gone to bed, Gwen thought she'd get the twins to go to sleep early.
"Vic, watch this. Let's trick the twins into thinking Santa's on the roof." She had found some jingle bells and began shaking them under the blankets. After a minute or so Jenny sat up in her bed.
"What's that noice?" she asked. "Cinny, do you hear that?"
"Yes, it sounds like jingle bells." They both looked towards our bed. "Sissy, do you hear that?" The bells had stopped ringing as Gwen put her hand over her mouth so as not to laugh aloud. A few seconds later she said,
"I heard it, what do you think it is?"
"Sounds like jingle bells, huh Nin?" Cindy said.
"Who do you know that has jingle bells and would be outside?" Gwen asked the twins as she started the bells again.
"Oh, there it is again," Jen said turning towards Cindy. "Maybe it's Santa and the reindeer."
We could tell these two little six year olds were getting pretty excited about this. I leaned over and whispered into Gwen's ear,
"You'd better end this before Mom and Dad hear the bells."
"Okay," she whispered back. "Cin and Jen, you know if it's Santa, you'd better get to sleep fast because he won't come here and leave toys if you're awake."
"You mean we won't get any presents?" Jen asked.
"That's right, now go to sleep," Gwen told them. I never saw the twins move so fast. They lay down in the bed, pulled the blankets up and closed their eyes. We never heard another peep out of them. Gwen turned to me chuckling, "That was fun." I agreed. We talked quietly for awhile then fell asleep.
We woke up early and began getting dressed so we could go find our gifts. The one fast rule on Christmas morning was no opening presents in our pj's. Gwen and I would get up and dressed, then help Jen and Cin, the youngest of the bunch, get ready. Our big brother, Gabe, would get dressed then try to wake Kel. He was never an early riser and Christmas morning was a hard time for him. It took some coaxing from Gabe to get Kel ready.
"Come on, Kel, you have to get up, it's Christmas morning. Everyone's ready to go downstairs."
"Leave me alone, I'm tired," Kel said.
"Put on your jeans and shirt. Then you'll be ready, too," Gabe told him. Finally, after much encouragement Kell was dressed. We lined up by ages. Cindy went first, followed by Jen, then me and Kel, finally Gwen and Gabe.
The lights from the Christmas tree spread a warm, special glow around the living room and once we saw it, all the turmoil that had gone on upstairs was forgotten. The camera started flashing from Mom and Dad's bedroom as they caught us unaware. Our parents had been listening to the discussions upstairs and waiting for us to appear.
"Merry Christmas, kids, " they called out as the flash went off. We'd all smile for the picture then gather around the tree. Santa's gifts were sitting unwrapped, so those were discovered first. The oldest child usually handed out the gifts. It was fun to sit and watch everyone open their presents and see how they liked them. Happiness and love were felt throughout the house.
Our main meal on Christmas was at noon. After eating, everyone agreed they were all stuffed from the turkey, dressing, baked corn, cranberry sauce and pies. Then we'd spend the afternoon playing with our new toys and other gifts.
About supper time we'd go to one of Mom's sister's house for the big family gathering. Everyone would bring some of their Christmas food to share. The adults would sit around the table chatting, whilde the children would be in the living room playing. When the evening was almost over, all of us would gather in the living room. Mom and her sisters would play their musical instruments and the entire family would sing Christmas carols until we were tired and ready to go home.
The day closed with our families enjoying each other and the good feelings Christmas had brought. Those were special times and memories that still make my Christmases warm and touch my heart.