It’s 1983 Again!

This is the first Christmas since 1983 that Dad and I will be waking up alone. Thirty-two years with our homes filled with babies, little girls, teenagers, and young adults. Last year we spent the night at Kelly and Mark’s house so we could be there to see Bryce put out his cookies for Santa and watch him open his presents. Santa brought a train table, which eclipsed every other present he received. It reminded me of the years all of you wanted nothing but to play with the boxes and wrapping paper. But this year, we’ll go over in the morning, so 2015 is like 1983 again.

Those Christmases were celebrated in five states—New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia and now South Carolina. We have seen snow in all of these states. Three states gave us snow around Christmas. The most surprising was the snowstorm for our third Christmas here in South Carolina, which dumped five inches the day after. All of you were with us, so despite being shocked to see snow on my palm trees (should we have moved further south??), it was fun to recreate our northern Christmases. It took creativity to go sledding with nothing more than cardboard boxes, but they did the trick.

I sent very few cards this year despite having the cards and stamps, but we received little as well. My time was filled with babysitting a lot more lately because Kelly needed the help. The new baby is coming any day now! My time was spent reading and writing, and I figured no one would notice the absence of a card from me. Like the handwritten letters, I predict Christmas cards will someday be a thing of the past.

So this year will start like 1983, and then morph into 1984 when we had only one child to spend the day with. We will have to figure out a new tradition or two to fill the emptiness. Casey wants to toast the holiday with Sweet Baby Jesus beer via Facetime, which is so Casey, and Jamie, you need to either join us or figure out our own new thing to do when we are apart. I just can’t stop the changes so I need to adapt.

Merry Christmas!

South Carolina- December 26, 2010

                South Carolina- December 26, 2010

Evolution of a Holiday

I guess Casey inherited her dislike of change from me, at least when it comes to the holidays. Although I am surprised that I have enjoyed moving around so much—living in 5 states—I don’t like all the changes in my holiday celebrations. Can’t I just choose a point in time and freeze it? So I thought that if I review the evolution of Christmas through my life, maybe I will feel better.

When I was very young, Grandma and Grandpa would take me to see Santa in Morristown. In the center of town was “The Green,” or Morristown’s answer to Central Park. Santa had an annex to the North Pole there, complete with elves and the biggest wooden rocking horses you ever saw. I loved going to visit Santa there.

I do not believe any of my siblings went to that Santa Land. I believe they visited Santa at another satellite house located in Grace Lord Park in Boonton. (Change #1) Every year, his house magically appeared there, and that is where we visited him sometime after Aunt Ar was born.

We had no special Christmas Eve traditional meals or any Christmas traditions for that matter. All that I recall is that we were given a time when we were permitted to come downstairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought us. Grandma and Grandpa were not strict, but that was one rule you just didn’t break—except for one particular Christmas. I was the culprit.

I remember tip toeing down those very steep stairs and peaking around the corner into the living room. The unwrapped presents were all under the tree (Santa never bothered to wrap our presents!), and next to the tree were Grandma and Grandpa. How could that be? Their explanation, which to this day I believe, was that they were fast asleep when suddenly, “from out on the lawn there arose such a clatter.” Naturally, “they sprang from their beds to see what was the matter,” and there in our living room were presents galore. Of course, I believed them. My parents would never lie.

One Christmas, Aunt El and Uncle Mart (perhaps Uncle Dave too) got up early, but they knew they could not venture downstairs. So they passed the time playing a board game in the bathtub until the anointed time arrived.

During the week when we were on our Christmas vacation, we would all take turns visiting the houses of our cousins so we could check out the loot that Santa brought to them. Grandma said that usually someone would mess up the plans by getting sick, but I guess we still hit as many houses as possible.

As the years passed, and our extended family grew, we stopped visiting every aunt, uncle and cousin. So that was change #2.  I think the logistics just got too hard. A new tradition was born and we all survived.

Then we started to grow up, get married, and now began to add the in-laws. Stay tuned for more.

Christmas- 19 Kids and 13 Adults

Christmas 1959