As Christmas Nears

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for several years. This is because I enjoy food; eating and cooking. I like to be able to bring people together and show appreciation. For years I decided that there was too much greed taking place on Christmas and would rather celebrate and focus on Thanksgiving.

There probably is too much green on Christmas but it is also magical.

Today is Monday and this year Christmas is on Friday. Luckily for me I have time off before and after Christmas. I am grateful to be able to provide Christmas for those that I love.

As Christmas nears and I sit here and scroll through all the streaming services I am drawn to the holiday movie sections. There are the classics, the sing a longs, and the new movies. At this moment I choose the animated Disney version of the classic tale A Christmas Carol. I chose this one as A was sleeping for a couple of reasons: 1. It is a great movie, 2. I haven’t watched it many times this year, and 3. The best reason of all because it is D’s favorite movie.

A just woke up as the movie started and she isn’t complaining. Maybe she remembers that D said this was his favorite movie when we visited him over Thanksgiving.

As Christmas nears I was lucky enough to have a conversation with S today about when she and C will be over on Christmas. Last year she had to work and of course they will also need to spend time with C’s family. We decided early on Christmas morning.

Deciding to have S and C over on Christmas morning made me reminisce of Christmases of the past and of traditions that my family had when I was growing up.

Growing up as one of six kids in small rural community near all of my grandparents, aunts, and cousins made for interesting holidays. There were so many places to go in such a short amount of time.

For Thanksgiving we pretty much celebrated the entire week. We would go to church, my Gran and Grandpa’s, my Memaw and Sam’s, and my uncle Clyde’s (Cydie for short- this sounds like it starts with a K). We ate a lot and maybe that’s why it was my favorite hahaha.

Then in December we would go to my mom’s cousins one Saturday and bake so many cookies. There would be Christmas caroling, school programs, church programs, and of course back then we would have Christmas break. I see less of these things happening today.

Christmas though that was a big deal. We have always started our festivities at Gran and Grandpa’s house. As a kid this was within walking distance of my house. It was amazing! Gran is mom’s mom and Grandpa was mom’s dad. My uncle from my dad’s side would dress as Santa and make an appearance as well.

We would have dinner and presents. My mom is also one of six kids so yep tons of people. Sometimes my a great aunt and great uncle would be there also my great grandma. There was a game of Trivial Pursuit. Many debates between The Liars and The Cheaters (always what everyone was broken up into).

This celebration has evolved over the years. Gran doesn’t live within walking distance of my parents anymore and now they do lunch. We haven’t been in a while because of life. However there is still love, food, and so many people.

My older sister and I shared a room, my brothers shared a room, and my little sisters shared a room. Then of course there was mom and dad’s room.

I can remember waking up so early and all of us kids piling into one bed deciding who was going to go wake up my parents. It was always my youngest sister as we knew they couldn’t be mad at her. Looking back and writing this I think they probably had an alarm set. Read on and you will see why that makes sense.

We weren’t allowed downstairs without mom and dad on Christmas morning. We could look over the railing and see the tree and presents. It was very tempting. Good job mom and dad. We didn’t have stockings, we each got a small cup with candy in it. These were set in 2s on the pillars of our staircase. At the top the 2 belonged to my little sisters (they are twins), the middle 2 belonged to my brother that is 2 years older than I and myself, the 2 at the bottom for my oldest brother and older sister. We had to go down in pairs. I remembering having to go slowly and together. Dad would tell us when.

After all of this we couldn’t just dig into our presents they had to be passed out. One at a time. This is a long process when you have six kids. I always remember there being so many presents and that makes sense we may have only each got 3 presents but that looks like so much. I honestly have zero idea how many we each received on any given Christmas but I know we did not go without. We were very fortunate.

After we spent at least an hour or two opening gifts we did not get to play with them we had to go get dressed.

After getting dressed it was time to go to Memaw and Sam’s. My dad’s mom and step dad. My dad is one of eight. Thats right he has 6 full siblings and a step brother. Most of us would gather for Christmas morning breakfast at what seemed like sunrise. Maybe it was later but I don’t think so. Looking back I don’t know how we all fit into my Memaw’s small trailer, but we did. The presents under this tree were so many.

We ate breakfast. The spread was so big. I’m not sure my memaw ever slept the night before. Homemade biscuuts and gravy, orange juice, so many scrambled eggs, bacon piled high, sausage patties, fruit, tea, toast. I’m sure I am forgetting something but my mouth is watering just typing about it.

I also remember some years we would see my Pepaw on Christmas. I don’t remember big celebrations with him but we would see him and my great grandma. He passed a week ago today and we lost my great grandma his mom almost 10 years ago. It is bittersweet. They both lived very long lives. I am glad that I got to know them.

The Christmases of the present are much different. My memaw passed away in 2017 and I don’t remember the last Christmas breakfast we had. Maybe when I was 16? We do Christmas Eve lunch at Gran’s now. Grandpa passed away last year. There are still great memories there.

Now that all of us are grown and most of us have kid we have a family Christmas usually around New Years when schedules are more clear.

Then there is our family Christmas. Last year we celebrated after Christmas since D was coming home on leave. This year he won’t be home so we will be facetiming with him.

I am excited to do Christmas morning breakfast. I am going to make a great spread. One that reminds me of Christmases past. We will let A open a present on Christmas Eve and read Twas the Night Before Christmas. We will have hot chocolate and watch Die Hard, National Lampoon”s Christmas Vacation, and The Santa Claus and so many more movies. We will call family and send videos. There will be many gifts to go through.

As Christmas nears this year I am grateful for my health, family, and friends. I will run on Christmas day and be grateful that I have the ability to do so. As Christmas nears I am ready to make new traditions and continue old ones.

As A gets older I hope for a Christmas morning run to become part of our family traditions. As Christmas nears I hope you have some tradition you can partake in or even make your own. Maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas maybe it is a different or no holiday at all either way I hope this season you are in has given you something to smile about.

Until next time,

Go for a run, do something you are passionate about, create traditions, reflect, be grateful, be kind, be you.

Sierra

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