I can’t remember a time as I was growing up when Christmas wasn’t a wonderful blur of activity. Decorations hung on every available space my Momma could find, and she was always wrapping presents and sticking them anywhere they would fit. The excitement was almost more than my little pre-teen heart could bear.
At that point in my life, Christmas was all about the presents for me. Maybe a little bit about the candy too! My parents spoiled me beyond anything I could deserve, and every year I would have a pile of presents bigger than I could comprehend. Little did I know the magic was the love my parents were putting into making sure I wasn’t disappointed on Christmas morning.
My Dad and I had a tradition of picking one present and trying to rub a hole in it by rubbing the same spot in the paper every day. My Mom became wise to our plan, however. We finally made it through one year on December 23 but much to our chagrin, Mom had double-wrapped it, and all we found was another layer of paper. We laughed about that for many years.
At my Granny’s, Christmas would be in full swing by now. Her favorite bird ornament would be chirping away in the tree while candy-making was commencing in the kitchen. I hated the chirping bird secretly, but what I wouldn’t give right now to see that tree again. It still lives very vividly in my mind’s eye; an angel was always on top, and it had lots of multi-colored lights. Old Saint Nick would be somewhere on the tree and lots of plastic candy-shaped ornaments.
In the kitchen, coconut and peanut butter balls would cover every available surface while an applesauce cake and a gumdrop cake baked. Talk about delicious. There was always enough to send a bucket home with everyone.
The house where I now reside would be full of my Dad’s family every holiday season. Family members came in from various parts of West Virginia and other states. I remember my Mom having Aunt Jamie and Uncle Cecil Hodge bring a toy baby carriage down from Marlinton because she couldn’t find one locally for me. I remember taking that thing everywhere with me.
Aunt Jamie also brought me a gift from her and Uncle Cecil. A bottle of eau de toilette water for little girls. I remember crying because I thought it was toilet water. I refused to try it, and when Mom wasn’t looking, I poured it out. I couldn’t understand why anyone would get me a gift out of a toilet. Mom had a terrible time convincing me it was perfume. It sure makes me smile to remember that now.
So many fond memories and traditions, all the while my kids and I strive to add new ones each year. I think we make our ancestors proud.
Whatever traditions and practices you carry through this year, I hope it’s your best holiday season ever.
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