It's Christmas Eve! I love to think of time as tiny snow globes and look back on each year and see a tiny cross section of life. It's easy to do with holidays because you pretty much know what you were doing each year (give or take) of your life so far.
When I was a kid, Christmas Eve was for my paternal grandparents. They had awesome decorations reminiscent of Mad Men. They took such great care to make sure they bought us something we really wanted. My grandma would let me peruse the Sears catalogue and I would turn down the top of pages of pretty whatevers that caught my eye. (Erstwhile my parents always saying "NO no no, they already have too many toys, you don't need to do so much this year"). Even as a kid I recognized the classic grandparent/parent tug-of-war, that is still alive and well and being passed on to generation after generation, hehe. I remember one year my uncle dressing up as a shepherd to read the Christmas story which was pretty gutsy considering there were lots of cameras around.
My maternal grandparents meant the first nativity set that stood out in my mind. Even when I was young it was old and fragile but I would stare at it playing make believe for as long as I could. Mamaw and Papaw meant chocolate chip cookies with black walnuts. It meant seeing cousins and my papaw dressing up in a hand made Frosty the Snowman costume that was bonkers legit. It meant my mamaw spending hours of time vhs recording all the Christmas specials on tv for us and stopping and starting so we wouldn't have to have the commercials. That tape was probably watched 1,000 times by me and my brother over the years forever cementing those specific specials as OFFICIAL CHRISTMAS CANON of holiday specials. (With such gems as of course Rudolph, Frosty, Mickey's Christmas Carol complete with the goofy skiing short, and the snowball fight short with Hewey, Dewey, and Louie, Chip and Dale hijinx, THE claymation Christmas special which we have recently acquired on dvd and forced on my niece and nephews, and others). I remember the sleigh bells on their door which would jingle each time another family member arrived out of the cold to join the festivities.
I'm so happy to have these memories. I am so lucky to have had four grandparents in my life. I am lucky to have two still here.
One memory that sticks out in my mind which can sum up all the biggest wish of my grandparents for me and all my cousins is this:
My mamaw was very into planning activities for family get togethers. As a kid this was insanely awesome and anticipated by me and more than likely not as highly anticipated by the adults. For Thanksgiving, it was skits with hand sewed pilgrim outfits, for Christmas it was learning songs and performing them, hand sewn angel costumes to recites scripture (me and my brother, I need to find those pictures) and other such stuff. One year we sang the 12 days of Christmas but with different words and got to hold up signs when it was our turn. I don't remember any of the the different words except the replacement for "and a partridge in a pear tree". It said:
This is what was most important gift and memory both sets of my grandparents wanted us to know. Then it became the most important gift and memory my parents wanted us to know. I'm so thankful they made this truth known to us. I'm so glad that I know it. I hope this Christmas that you will also know it.