Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Past

So many Christmases past flutter through the corridors of memory. I remember only a few that were not 'holly jolly' ones. But those need not be mentioned today. In this entry, I'll focus on just a few of the many merry ones.

My earliest remembrance of Christmas is of one when I was about eight years old. We were living with my Grandmother at her house. Santa had come, bringing me a 'grown up' doll, the predecessor of Barbie dolls. She was about eighteen inches tall, and had blond hair. She came with a full wardrobe, which was made by my Mom, although I didn't know that at the time.

She was my favorite gift that year, and she got a good workout! I believe that it was also that year that Santa made a 'repeat' visit on New Year's Eve, bringing just one more gift for each of us. Mine was a cute little soft plastic, pastel colored tea set.

In our family, Christmas meant visiting. We saw a lot of my maternal aunts and cousins throughout the year, but my seeing father's side of the family (except my Grandparents) was less frequent, for whatever reason. When Christmas came , however, we'd get together with Dad's sister and some of my cousins. Usually, after the gifts were unwrapped and breakfast was eaten, we'd load into the car, and begin the hopping from house to house in East Hampton, collecting gifts from each of my aunts. The visits weren't lengthy, but each family member of the family was graced with our family's arrival on the door step.

After we'd seen the maternal side, we'd go home for dinner, and afterward, all the aunts and cousins would pop in to see what we got for Christmas, and to receive their gifts from us. After the last of the bunch had left, we'd get in the car again, and go to Amagansett to my father's sister's house. There was no gift exchange there, but there was a visit. Often we'd go next door, too, to visit a cousin who was married with a young family.

Looking back on it, I don't remember any complaints. I would think my brothers and I would rather have stayed home with our presents than to travel hither and yon to visit with relatives.
Yet, when I married and we had children of our own, we did precisely the same thing! We dragged our kids from place to place all day long, with time enough for dinner at one set of parents or the other.

Christmas is a time to reconnect with all that is truly important... spiritual things, relationships and remembrances.

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