Christmas, is a wonderful time of year! I have so many wonderful memories of childhood Christmases past. So many great and wonderful stories, to share and to remember and to pass on to generation to generation!
I would like to share a few of my fondest childhood Christmas stories with you this Christmas eve.
Growing up Christmas meant driving from Guelph Ontario to Windsor Ontario to spend Christmas with my extended family. Each year right after school got out, we would load up the car and make the 3 hour drive.
Every year just as the car started to roll down the driveway, my mom would suddenly shout, "OH, I think I left the iron on!" My dad would stop the car and my mom would jump out and run inside. I always thought she was actually unplugging the iron...instead, she was running around the house throwing hidden presents under the tree, stuffing stockings, gobbling down the cookies, and slugging back the beer we left out for Santa! in the moments it would take to unplug an iron, my mom would make it look like Santa arrived and delivered all our gifts. Thanks to her efforts, I believed in Santa a few years longer than most!
We would spend our time visiting relatives, eating, visiting and eating!
After Christmas eve mass we would go to my Meme and Pepe's house for a traditional meal of tourtiere, pickles, and plates and plates of goodies. My Meme was a wonderful baker and if I close my eyes right now, I can actually taste her famous rum ball or butter tart.
Then, every year, without fail, just as we were getting our PJ's on at my Grama and Papa's house, the phone would ring. You could here our squeals for miles! My brother and I, along with any of our cousins also visiting would race to the phone. Me, being the eldest grandchild was the first to get to talk. With huge eyes and a grin from ear to ear, I would slowly raise the phone to my ear and softly inquire, "S-a-n-t-a?" You see, every year, Santa would call us at Grama's house. He would inform us that he just arrived in Guelph and would be leaving all our gifts, and if we were asleep when he flew over Windsor, he would leave one gift for each of us under the tree. Just thinking of those calls makes my heart swell and a rush of warmth tickle my being. But it also makes me sad - you see, no matter how long we kept Santa on the phone, my father never got to talk to him. My dad was always out walking the dog or getting milk at the corner store. Thanks to that annual call, I believed in Santa a few years longer than most!
Every year, we would take great care to set up our nativity scene. Setting up our creche was such a wonderful family time. With great care we would place Mary and Joseph, and all the angels and animals in their proper places. When we were done, my father would lovingly place the Baby Jesus back in his box and place the closed box on the fireplace mantle. You see, Baby Jesus could not be placed into the creche until Christmas morning. That was the rule.
Unfortunately, not everyone else has that rule in their household. And during our annual Christmas visits, my father would help enforce that rule by taking out the Baby Jesus and hiding Him. Oh, how my Grama would get upset to discover Baby Jesus missing! And my father would use creative hiding spots and would never announce that he took Baby Jesus - he would just quietly place Baby Jesus in a safe spot till Christmas day. Thanks to his actions, my Grama, some time Christmas morning would yell out, "Where is Baby Jesus???? Gary!!!!!! Where the F*ck is Baby Jesus?????" My father would calmly walk over to the ice box, or into the pantry, or front hall closet, or open the top dresser drawer and retrieve the missing Baby Jesus and place Him in His proper place within the nativity scene. So, if your Baby Jesus ever goes missing - give my Dad a shout, he may know where He is hiding!
Oh, what memories!
I must now run - and help create some wonderful Christmas memories for my three children. And you should do the same!
Merry Christmas and I wish all of you and your families a wonderful 2008!