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Christmas at our house–better known as our “Annual Christmas Eve Sing-a-thon and Buffet”!

December 18, 2008

AHH, CHRISTMAS!my-dining-room

It seemed as though it would never get here when I was little.  The anticipation, the anxiety ( I wasn’t very good this year–What if Santa doesn’t come?) was almost more than a kid could stand! Growing up, Christmas was such a magical time at my-sister-and-cousin-in-the-70s1our house. It was kids, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, dogs, cats,  presents, and lots of wonderful food. There was always a real tree. The smell of pine mingled with the sweet smells of gingerbread and cinnamon was luscious!  Just remembering it makes my mouth water.

When I grew up, got married, and had children of my own, we did everything we could to make their Christmases as magical as our childhood holidays had been. Even now the tradition continues.

Right after Thanksgiving the trees go up (4 full-sized plus 2 or 3 little ones).  Frank’s library turns into a turn-of-the-century English Christmas thanks to his Dickens Village collection. ( right down to the chiming clock tower.) The entire house is decorated from top to bottom.

The outside of the house looks like the village-in-photoshop1Griswald Family Christmas with literally thousands of lights thanks to Frank and our high-wire man, youngest son Robbie.  The one exception was the year middle son, David, took over and turned our roof into a shrine to the Grateful Dead.  Luckily his artwork was a little sloppy–everyone thought the lightening bolt in a circle was Santa and his reindeer streaking across a full moon.  Yes, he took it down the minute I discovered what he’d done! christmas-2006-031

The baking begins the week before Christmas and culminates in the “Annual Christmas Eve Sing-a-thon and Buffet” food Our kids, my parents, my sister (when she’s able to be here), her children, my best friend Bonnie and her children, and a host of relatives and dear friends (and of course, Santa!)christmas-2006-172 all gather to eat traditional fare as well as foods that some might think a little odd. (We have to have chili but no one can remember when or why that started. Oh, and tuna sandwiches without crusts are a staple as well, thanks to two of my grandmother’s old maid aunts. They’ve long since passed away, but someone still always makes the sandwiches in their honor). We laugh, eat too much, remember Christmases past, and most importantly, we SING! singing-copy Towards the end of the evening everyone gathers to sing Christmas carols around the piano.

Now, over the years ALL the kids have complained loudly about the singing.christmas-singing-more They’ve griped and whined and said how much they hate it, but not one of them has ever missed a Sing-A-Thon.  Even as grown ups they still show up. (see “my videos” for last years Sing-A-Thon below) When the kids were young the evening’s nativity-copygrand finale was Midnight Mass-now it’s Candlelight service.

Christmas morning we open presents and then we re-group for a huge Christmas dinner.  A couple of days of left-overs and it’s time to pack the magic away, start the diets and get back to the real world.(sigh)

Every year we complain about how much  work it is to decorate the house, then we complain about how much work it is to un-decorate the house, and every year we say this is the year we’re going to cut 50s-tree-copy1back, but we never do.

But, this year is different. This year we have Carter Paul. And this year middle son, David, is giving his girlfriend a ring. (She doesn’t know it)  He’s decided to give it to her dressed as Santa Claus at Christmas Eve’s Sing-A-Thon. (in front of all of us–brave boy that Dave. I can only hope she says yes–it could be pretty embarrassing for him if she doesn’t! Something tells me it will be yes.)

Over the past few weeks as I watched Carter’s parents get so excited about their first Christmas with Carter and thought about David getting married, I felt a twinge that I can only describe as bittersweet. The baton is slowly passing.   christmas-2006-030All the Christmases my husband and I have spent (30 so far) combining traditions from our own childhood memories with memories we’ve made together are slowly being handed to the next generation.  Hopefully a few of our good traditions (ok, the chili can go!) will be kept and remembered along with a few ofchristmas-2006-077 the good traditions their wives will bring. Those, along with the memories they create together, will be passed on to our grandchildren and then good-boys-and-girls1their children.  It all makes me a little sad, but mostly it makes me so happy, and I feel so blessed to be part of this wonderful family.

Now, don’t get me wrong–We aint passin’ that baton yet! We still have a few more  family Sing-A-Thons and Buffets left in us before we give up the Christmas ghost!

I would love to hear about some of your favorite Christmas traditions if you’d like to share them here.

Here’s wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a bright shiny New Year!

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Holiday sing-a-long Video by Karen – …“, posted with vodpod
Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Wood Family annual sing-a-thon2 Video…“, posted with vodpod
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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Moody Monica permalink
    December 19, 2008 12:48 am

    Of all the blogs you have written….this is my very favorite.
    After five months of wondering ‘Where is Caylee and What Happened” and watching the Anthony family falling apart…It is so nice to read and see a family who loves each other and enjoying the holiday.
    Great Blog!

  2. itsamysterytome permalink*
    December 19, 2008 9:01 am

    Thank you, Monica. I have a great family as you seem to have, too from reading your blog. This Christmas I will appreciate them even more because of Caylee.

  3. niecey456 permalink
    December 23, 2008 11:47 am

    Wow, Mystery, I love your family Christmas’. I’d say you probably have a good 30 to 50 more. We lost my grandparents a few years ago and we have been trying to carry on some of their traditions. My Papa loved to decorate the house with lights and he loved the family get togethers, so did Nana. She could cook like nobody’s business. She made cakes from scratch. She passed the baton to me for the recipes. The ones she had that were her best she wrote out the recipes and signed them. I treasure them. They always had their get togethers on Christmas Eve and Papa made the rounds when we were kids to inspect the loot and play with the kids. My first grandbaby was born this year and I insisted on the Christmas Eve get together and I’m going to the kids house Christmas morning to inspect the loot and play with him. Today I’m baking, no cakes this year, but I’m baking. Next year I have resolved to bake Nana’s cakes. Christian calls me Nana, shoes I don’t know that I can fill, but I’ll give it my best shot.
    I agree with you about Caylee. I appreciate my family even more because of her.
    Merry Christmas!!! I hope this New Year is full of love, blessings, and joy for you and your family!!!!!

  4. itsamysterytome permalink*
    December 25, 2008 7:42 pm

    Niecey–Your holiday sounds wonderful, too. I can tell your grandparents were a big part of what made your Christmas special. You should post some of your Nana’s recipes. I’d love to try them!

  5. niecey456 permalink
    December 25, 2008 8:32 pm

    I will do that. Thanks Mystery.

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