My Family Christmas Carol …

by Genevieve, Senior Advisor and Editor

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and… 

Bet you expected me to recite one of our favorite Christmas poems. I love it, too; but, would like to share my own Christmas story (not a poem, however, since I don’t understand iambic pentameter and all that poetic type stuff.) I’ll just relate my recollection of my childhood Christmases in basic English. (At least you don’t have to be multilingual to interpret my tale. 

Since I’m rarely ever politically correct, you most likely will find some gaffes as you read along. I can’t apologize for being an ordinary, everyday American citizen in this extraordinary country for longer than I like to admit. As a reference point in the continuum of my life, I will confess to almost 69 years on this planet. 

But, I digress. The long-awaited Christmas Eve was somewhat uneventful at my house. Dad refused to buy a tree prior to Christmas Eve since he was able to purchase one for only $1, freeing up more money for “boilermakers” at the local pub. Our tree was festooned with chains fashioned from construction paper. Occasionally, Dad fought with tangled strings of lights to use for a more festive-looking tree. His colorful language was worth it when the tree was lit with “bubble” lights glowing in the midst of the other lights. Mom’s Christmas angel atop the tree was unremarkable, but very special. She announced the birth of Jesus Christ, the savior of mankind. Of course, at that age, I was much more interested in what gifts Santa would bring. 

Christmas Eve was the only night that Mom didn’t have to drag me off to bed. I always wanted to stay up with the adults. Not an option for little kids. On this most Holy Night, I couldn’t wait to go to bed since that meant that Santa would be there sooner. The logic of a child is so rationally irrational. After going to bed, I lay wide awake certain that I could hear Santa dropping down the chimney with all the gifts. 

Mom always read The Littlest Angel to me on Christmas Eve. This traditions still remains my favorite. 

Each year, my sister and I were disappointed to learn that we each had received only one toy. Everything else was clothing. Just plain old pajamas, slippers, shoes, and sundry other “practical” gifts. Mom’s fixed budget didn’t allow much gift-giving flexibility. I didn’t understand at the time; but she did her best to spread her household allowance from Dad’s meager paycheck so that each of us had several gifts to open. Most of the packages were wrapped in white tissue paper tied with colored string that had strands of silver through it. Needless to say, we weren’t impressed with articles of clothing for gifts. We wanted “impractical” things like dolls, games, etc. 

One of my fondest memories is stringing popcorn and placing it on the after-Christmas tree for the birds to eat. Standing in snow approximately 6 inches deep (watching our breath turn white against the cold), we enjoyed watching God’s gift to us – the sparrows, red birds, blue birds, etc. – delight in the feast provided. 

Life is changing so quickly, and things are being taken away with many attempts to take even more; but no one can ever take the innocence and purity of childhood away. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

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