Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Time's a Comin' !

Said my grandad to my grandma. Christmas 1986.

"Is everybody who ought to be here, here ? "


"Reckon we're good to eat."

Everybody meant just that. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbours and literally anyone who was at loose ends in our little community on Christmas Day was welcome to come break bread with us. In those days, before my generation scattered, there were so many of us that nobody's house would hold us all, so we had our Christmas meal each year on Christmas Day at the community hall, just down the street from my grandparent's house, and we filled it up with our presence and our laughter. Grandma would usually wind up at the piano, and we'd play, sing and eat all day long.

I couldn't imagine our Christmas tradition ever being any different then, but 1986 was the last in a long line of Christmases that my grandad would be able to say those words to grandma. From that day to this one has been a slow playing out of that family tradition as new families began their own Christmas rituals. Lest I sound sad about this, I believe that's as it should be, although I admit to some nostalgia for those days each year as I get older. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have tried to cram in even more fun that I had back then, and that is saying something !

Fast forward twenty four years and, except for chores and barring equine or livestock emergencies, I'll be looking forward to participating in Christmas dinner with my in-laws and their families, including Melissa's grandaddy who, at 94 will be making the trip up from Memphis in a few days. Christmas and the days surrounding it are part of the hand full of days that we completely close the farm to visiting clients; I admit to looking forward to a few day's grace on that front, too !

What are you doing for Christmas this year ? What are your family traditions ?


Laura said...

I hope you and Melissa enjoy some quieter time with family and friends over the holidays.

I miss the Christmas holidays from my childhood - lots of aunts and uncles, cousins and neighbours to visit with... I'm the one that moved away, so I guess I can't complain too much, but I do feel nostalgic about those care-free days...

Nowadays, we spend one year here in Ottawa and the next we head south. I'm leaving Friday am. to drive down to London to visit my family. Hopefully we miss all of the snow that they have been having!

SmartAlex said...

What are we doing for Christmas, and what are our traditions? Now THAT is a loaded question. Being from the generation of divorce, I spent decades running here and there. I have, on occassion, eaten three full Thanksgiving meals prior to collapsing on the floor, unable to loosen a button... or move.

Awhile ago, sick of "racing and chasing" Tim began the tradition that everyone comes to one house and pretends to like each other for at least one night. Because I am Ms. Christmas, and Tim is Mr. Social Planner, that has been our house. Of course, our house is tiny and it becomes exhausting entertaining everyone year after year. So Tim decided the Holidays should rotate. The wheels came off after that. No one else seems to understand the concept of rotate, or that there is a way around "race and chase".

This year, I phoned my little sister, and in my stearnest sisterly voice, said "It's your turn". Despite the fact that she had proclaimed that she will NEVER host a holiday, she called back within 5 minutes and said she would do it. She even managed to get her house rearranged and decorated without any help. I did offer her my lists of things people will eat and won't eat. I'll let you know how it goes.

Jason said...

Thanks Laura;

We had our first Christmas feast this evening at Melissa's aunt and uncle's place. I am so full I thought I'd have to roll home.


Looking forward to the update. :)

Merry Christmas to everyone !