When I was young we used to stay in my grandparents (I never got to meet them for they passed away a few years earlier) place. Come Christmas time I remember all my uncles and aunts come there to join my parents. They used to chase out us youngsters and have us play outside while they closed all the windows and doors and secretly decorated the house. Once the doors were opened we’d all be amazed at the beautiful tree and ornaments that adorned the house.
Before that though we’d be anxious and excited . I remember trying to peek through the window but because I was too short (my nickname back then was Shortfella LOL…thank God I grew up to be tall) I’d have to pull myself up to the windowsill to peep. While trying to pry open the window I actually slipped and hurt my jaw and still bear the scar on my chin to this day. However, every time I rub the scar it takes me back the past and my wonderful memories of my childhood.
I remember going for midnight mass at St. Anthony’s church with my mum and dad. I remember feeling so sleepy for I was a wee lad of just five or six then. I don’t think I stayed up the entire mass and am sure my father would have to carry to the taxi for we didn’t have a car until later.
After mass all the family would gather and we’d have a big feast. There’d be sausages and ham, roast beef and pies, turkeys and chicken and everything good to eat but I can’t remember what because I was so young then. Everyone would be merry and having fun until the wee hours. My uncles were great singers back then and they’d sing carols with gusto. Once our neighbor commented that she woke up and thought she heard angels singing LOL
Then came the best part for us kids…the presents. We’d be so excited and tear open the wrappers and dig in to our new treasures. I really can’t remember what we received then but with all the planning and preparations stuff I’m sure it was good.
Later years after my father passed away and we moved to our own home Christmas was still special. My Mum had to take care of us three kids all by herself while holding on to a job but she still managed to make Christmas special. I can never forget the smells that came from the oven as she baked cookies and cakes at night. She’d be sewing something be it a set of new curtains or a dress for my sister on her sewing machine while we’d be playing in the living room and the Christmas tree would be lit in the corner. I can’t forget that scene.
Christmas Eve we’d get ready for church all dressed in our Christmas clothes…every single item of which was brand new. We’d go for midnight mass as usual and then return home to feast on a pie or bangers and mash or a leg of lamb or something special (my mouth is drooling just thinking about it). Of course the other Uncles and Aunts by them had families of their own so we celebrated alone. It was still fun. We’d have hot cocoa together with our meal and then it would be time to go on to the living room and open our presents.
On Christmas day we would have an open house for our friends. Mum would have prepared all the ingredients and condiments for cooking the night before. And she’d slave in the kitchen to prepare a lovely meal for the guests. We’d get the cake trays ready and the cookies and cakes and murukku and tarts (mum made the best tarts and I kid you not).
Around noon the first guests would arrive and we’d entertain all day and all night until all the guests had come and gone.
The next few days we’d spend visiting our Uncles and Aunts homes and they would in turn come to our house on December 27th for our bash for the family. Again Mum would cook some of her specialties and we’d get all the goodies ready. More presents would exchange hands. After dinner there’d be singing and dancing and a lot of merry making till the wee hours. This would go on until New Year’s Day for every day we’d visit an Uncle or two and all meet up over and over again and have parties’ non-stop. It really was the best time of the year for us for Christmas was a special time for us all. I guess know you know why I love Christmas so much.
After a few years everyone started to move on. Families grew and then there were marriages and births and even deaths and pretty soon all the traditions died away. I really miss those days.
I still try to maintain my Christmas party but not everyone does anymore. I long to bring back the joy and merriment of the past so that my little one wil be able to experience what I did. Unfortunately, everyone has branched out and have their own commitments. "Whatever happened to Christmas?" That song has just started to play on my pc…the song is from a cd by Frank Sinatra. How apt…
Anyway I know that one tradition will not die and that is my pre-Christmas bash (PCB) with my two best buddies Nick @ Mr. Over-Sensitive and Sean. I just managed to confirm that our PCB will be on this Saturday and pie is on the menu! Wooo Hooo I just love Christmas!!!!!!! More good news Mr. Over-Sensitive just called to say that he is also having a Christmas party this year...Woo Hoo again...things are really begining to look up and I haven't even posted this yet LOL