I got this fun Christmas meme from Gretchen (sorry dear, tried to comment with my link and had trouble again…hope you get to read this).
1. Best childhood gift from Santa: Santa pretty much brought the same things every year: socks, underwear, candy canes, and some other trinkets. He’s gotten much more adept with the gifts as I’ve gotten older. Now I get gift cards for gas and groceries! And some socks.
2. Best childhood memories: Going to my grandparents’ homes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The two celebrations were different, but each special in their own way.
At my mom’s parents’ (Eve), there was usually just our family of four, my two grandparents, and my great uncle Ed. We ate our traditional meal (corve* and lutefisk, and some sort of red-and-green jell-o dessert cut into rectangles, always served on a separate plate), read Luke 2, Grandpa prayed (for what seemed like FOREVER when I was a kid), then my brother and I handed out gifts and we all opened them (one at a time, by age, youngest to oldest). And then Grandma finished up with her last 21 gifts while we watched and oohed and aahed appropriately at each pair of elastic polyester pants and crossword puzzle dictionary. We threw wads of wrapping paper at Grandpa, and he smiled his crooked grin and chucked it back at us when we weren’t looking. After cleaning up the wrapping paper and boxes, the menfolk and myself would sit at the table with a giant Tupperware bowl of nuts, still in the shell, and use nutcrackers to shell them. They were usually enjoyed with a can of 7-up or Pepsi.
At my dad’s parents’ (Day), we arrived shortly before noon to find Grandma bustling about the kitchen, putting finishing touches on the meal (varied from year to year). Other families would show up (everyone came to this celebration every year—our family, all 6 aunts and uncles, Grandma and Grandpa, and 9 cousins…almost everyone still shows up, too!), everyone bringing salad or vegetables or rolls to share, and we’d eat around 12:30 or 1:00. Dishes would get done, and we’d take family pictures on the staircase. I miss that staircase… Then the kids would pass out gifts, and we’d open them in the same style, one at a time, youngest to oldest. Grandma would end with her last 15 gifts while most of the cousins scrambled off to play with new toys and the older folks (and me) stayed to ooh and aah over every bathrobe, sweater and cookie jar. After clean-up, the trays of Wheatie Bars, caramels and Nut Goodies would get passed around. Friends and other, more distant relatives would show up throughout the afternoon, sometimes sharing a meal or bringing a treat. Games like Taboo, Scattergories and Pictionary were played in large groups around the dining room table. We would have leftovers and buns for supper and continue playing until it was time to go home.
3. Favorite Christmas cookies: Tough one. My mom makes way more bars than cookies, and they’re super-yummy, but my favorite cookie is probably a frosted sugar cookie.
4. Icky Christmas memory: Driving from Husband’s folks’ place up to my folks’ place on Christmas Eve through a snowstorm our 2nd year of marriage. We didn’t get there until LATE.
5. It’s not Christmas without: Jesus. He’s the reason for the season, after all!
6. Our Church Service: I remember Christmas Eve services at my mom’s parents’ church—all glowy in candlelight, kids I grew up with playing instruments and singing, scriptures being read. Loved it.
7. Christmas Pet Peeve: Feeling stressed when it’s supposed to be a time of tidings of comfort and joy. I’ve been better with my expectations this year and made specific plans to NOT stress out. The work part of December has driven me nutso, but I think I should be able to wrap up before the 24th, so I’m looking forward to some time to relax…
8. Favorite Christmas CD: Probably Christmas with Conniff, just because I grew up with it on vinyl, and it reminds me of so many good memories.
9. Real or Fake: Real, much to Husband’s dismay. I don’t know what he’s complaining about, though, because when his family has a tree, it’s real, too. That way we can enjoy the fragrance and we don’t have to store it, right?
10. I spend Christmas Eve: varies every year now. Sometimes with Husband’s family; this year we’ll spend it just the three of us. I am really looking forward to that, actually. I have plans for a special breakfast and to attend our own church’s Christmas Eve service.
If you play along, leave a link in the comments section—I’d love to read!
*Corve is apparently so obscure that I couldn’t find a single thing about it on the interwebs. It’s a homemade sausage of sorts, containing some sort of meat (Mom? Is it beef? Pork?). Husband’s family makes potato sausage, which is similar, but corve doesn’t have the potatoes or onions in it. I kind of miss corve…