Back when I was a kid, Christmas seemed like it took forever to actually arrive. We'd have a few days off from school before Christmas, just waiting for that day. I remember listening to the Christmas carols on my old radio, singing along, and wishing for something great for Christmas morning.
We'd set up the tree a few days before Christmas. Some years we'd have a real tree. It always leaned for some reason, but my dad would jerry rig it up so it would stand straight. Sometimes, there would be presents under the tree before Christmas, but they were always from my brother and sisters to each other. The REAL presents came on Christmas morning.
On Christmas Eve after dinner, we'd go to church in our old station wagon. Five kids in the backseat, and Mom and Dad in the front. There would always be a candle lighting service in church, and then we'd come home. It was usually snowing and always cold. Us girls would wear dresses with heels. It was cold, even with our big brown furry coats. That's Pennsylvania for you.
Once we got home, we'd be excited to get to sleep, because Santa was finally coming to our home. It was hard to sleep that night, and all of us would get up around six, tired of waiting. We'd wake Mom and Dad, who always looked like they'd been up wrapping presents all night. We never did figure out any connection to that theory, because Santa brought our presents.
Santa was a thrifty guy in our house. He wrapped our presents in newsprint. If you were lucky, your presents would be wrapped in the Sunday paper, because it was in color. If you were doubly lucky, it would be wrapped in the Sunday comics, because you could read them before you opened your presents.
Every one of us five kids had a pile. And, every one of us would get a red sweater. Santa must've known my dad loved the color red and loved Christmas shopping for sweaters. Santa also must've known that my mom was practical and liked getting clothes for Christmas. But Santa was also smart. He got us a lot of games to keep us busy all day long on Christmas day.
As the years went on, Santa got lazy. Instead of wrapping each gift, he'd put them on piles and lay a piece of newspaper on top of the pile. Cracked us all up.
I miss the magical days of Christmas, but now that we have our own kids, I understand our parents wanting to watch us open the presents. Kids make Christmas fun again, even when they're grown.
Some year, I'd love to travel during Christmas, just my husband and me. But that's a long way off, after our kids have families of their own. Until then, we get to enjoy the holiday with our family and our one daughter's boyfriend (great guy!) until the other two date people they like.
So have a wonderful holiday tomorrow. Enjoy the magic of Christmas and laugh a lot. That's what I intend to do.
Merry Christmas Eve!