Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Memories

Momrn2 at My Quiet Corner is hosting a party today! A Christmas memory party. Go here for the info and then come and join in. We'd love to hear of your favorite Christmas memory.

In thinking back on our Christmas' when I was little I really could not tell you more than a few of the gifts that I had recieved over the years. The memories that are totally imbedded into my memory are of celebrating the birth of Jesus and family. My mom and dad were immigrants to Canada and we had no other "blood" relatives here in North America. Christmas was always celebrated with my godparents, my sister's godparents a family that was very good friends with my family. Being European, the big day was not Christmas day but Christamas Eve. When we, or should I say my parents, were hosting, it was a huge deal to get ready. The cleaning and dusting that went on! And my sister and I helped out with the dusting and trying to keep our stuff in our rooms. We were so excited because there would already be some presents under the tree and we could hardly stand it. My mom would be cooking all day preparing a huge feast. And I mean huge. We always had goose. Never turkey. And this wonderful stuffing that was sliced into these lovely oval peices. Then mom would make fried chicken and Hungarian kolbas and rice sausage in case someone didn't like goose. There would be mashed potatoes and rice in case someone didn't like potatoes. There would be cooked carrots and red cabbage, which I didn't like because it had caraway seeds in it. There would be tossed salad.

My dad would bring up this huge board we put over the table to make it bigger and then out would come the Christmas tablecloth and the good dishes and cutlery and the table would get set. The kids would get relagated to the basement rumpus room to play because the small kitchen was just not big enough. The company would start arriving and we almost couldn't stand the anticipation. We'd want to be in the living room staring at all the presents and trying to get in a shake or two without getting caught.

If the party was at our house, our presents were all out already, but if the party was at one of our godparents, my dad would somehow sneak out to put our presents under the tree before we came home so it was always a big surprise. One year I remember standing outside, hyper with anticipation, waiting for the door to get unlocked, when my dad shouts out, pointing at the sky, "Look there's Santa in the sky with his reindeer." So me and my sister are trying to hard to see Santa driving away from our house, looking all over the skies, but we just couldn't see him. But when we went in, there was presents under the tree. You know, my dad was so sneaky, I never once remember him being gone from the party to do this, never once remember him missing.

Whether we had company or not, presents were opened Christmas Eve. Once dinner was out of the way, us kids would be begging to get into the living room. My mom would always try to prolong the present opening until 9 p.m. I'm not sure why. I'll have to ask her. Then of course, there would be the usual pandemonium of ripping open presents. There would always be one of the adults suggesting we open the wrapping carefully so it didn't get wrecked. I think it was sort of a standing joke amongst them. We, of course, never listened.

But something I really remember looking forward to every Christmas Eve, was the midnight mass. We'd get to stay up and then we'd all head over to our parish. I remember the big manger scene at the front of the church and the beautiful candles lit all around. I remember the beautiful service and singing the carols. I remember how packed the church always was but the beauty of celebrating Jesus was always more important than the stuffiness of too many people all squished in.

I'm so glad my parents really made this a part of our Christmas'. I don't remember sitting on Santa's knee in a mall, although I'm sure I did. I can only name a handful of presents I ever got, but I know there were many over the years. What I do remember is celebrating Jesus through the midnight service and having "family" all around. I remember my parents making it special even in the leaner years. What I remember is love.

But in all those wonderful childhood memories of Christmas I have to say my absolute favorite Christmas memory occured 12 years ago this Christmas. We'd all just opened our gifts, me, my hubby, our girl and our boy. I was watching the music video my beloved hubby had got me and he was in the kitchen trying out his new waffle maker. When all of a sudden a huge pang of pain across my very pregnant tummy. Oh! Then more and more. I went to tell hubby I thought this was it and he gave me a look of stunned disbelief. "But I'm making waffles." Um, yeah well, you can make them later. While he shut everything down we phoned my mom who was going to watch the kids when the time came. When I told her to come over as fast as possible 'cause it was time, her reaction? "But I'm stuffing the turkey!" LOL! I told her she better get over now 'cause I was unstuffing mine! We got to the hospital and basically just in time. In two hours, from beginning to end, our precious T. was born at noon on Christmas Day. My doctor thanked me for being so quick about it as she could still get home to cook her turkey. I tell ya, I was surrounded by comedians that day! LOL!

They brought my special Christmas gift to me after checking her and decking her all out in a fuzzy Christmas stocking with an adorable knit baby sized santa hat on her head and a Christmas card from "her" with her tiny little footprint on it. Nothing will ever top that Christmas memory! And again my memory is of love, incredible love!

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26 comments:

Tammy said...

Oh my goodness, Susanne!!!
This was wonderful! What a very, very special Christmas memory at the end! And the picture is absoultely pricelss!!!!

lrlwreath said...

OH you saved the very best for last. I was hungry just reading about the feast!! And your Dad sneaking the presents under the tree, that is just precious!!!

Pamela said...

What delightful childhood memories! Your Dad sounds so loving! The Christmas Goose with all the trimmings sounds wonderful! I can just picture your family gathering for that incredible meal. Christmas Mass...just all of it brings a smile to my face!

What a precious little Christmas bundle of joy you received! Christmas is a feeling of Love...

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

"What I remember is love."

Susanne, that one line sums up everything Christmas is about, doesn't it. From person to person, and from God to us.

What a great line. :]

org junkie said...

What a wonderful story and blessing. What a sweet and precious picture....how cute is that! Thanks for sharing your memory with us. Laura

Barbie said...

What an amazing birth story your little one has:):) I love it!!!
And your childhood memories are so sweet.

PastorMac's Ann said...

Wow what wonderful memories! Love that last one with the picture of your most specialest of packages! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I love this Christmas memory! What better gift than the gift of new life!!! What a cute picture of your baby. Thanks for sharing such sweet days from your life! How blessed you are!

Kim

Shalee said...

How precious is that wonderful gift!

Morning Glory said...

Oh, that's just the best ever!! What a great story and such a precious little baby.

Heather Smith said...

Great Christmas memories! Especially that last one. So cute!

Heather said...

Just wonderful!

Air Force Family said...

Incredible Christmas memories! Especially the last gift/memory you posted.

Jane said...

What a beautiful memory....I got the goosebumps reading this Susanne, thank you for sharing this with us.

Barb said...

Oh my sweet goodness, that baby in the stocking is the most precious thing, Susanne. What a glorious gift! And your remark about unstuffing your turkey cracked me up.

I've never once eaten goose. I wonder why. I seriously do not know what goose tastes like. I need to do something about that.

What wonderful memories. I love the big board over the table. That's so like something we'd have done. It took a mighty big table in our house with six kids.

I love reading this. These memes are making me feel so Christmasy!

OH. I almost forgot. I remember all the candles at midnight mass but the most beautiful thing to me was all the plain, unadorned Christmas trees - blue spruces - surrounding the altar. It was truly beautiful.

Susie said...

You described everything so wonderfully. I felt like I was there too! You obviously have an amazing family. Great food, great traditions and bundles of love. What more could you ask for.

JaniceCroze said...

What a Christmas present!!! And how nice it wasn't a long labour!

Wonderful memories you shared too.

momrn2 said...

I was thoroughly enjoying the memories of the presents appearing, the midnight mass, the family get togethers... and then you topped it.

Your memory of your little one being born on Christmas is one not many people ever get to experience. And the picture is absolutely wonderful!

Thanks so much for participating and sharing such special memories!!

Anonymous said...

What a sweet memory! I really enjoyed reading this . . . thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

oh what a cute picture....
...sorry, i am SO behind on reading blogs...

Linda said...

Oh, Susanne! This post is lovely enough to keep forever in a keepsake book! The details in the beginning were wonderful. This might be a dumb question, but was your family Hungarian? How did they end up in Canada? And your sweet baby! Oh my, I have to show my 14 year-old "Baby Girl" that picture. I'm so glad to have come across your site those weeks ago!

Everyday Mommy said...

Oh, I love it! Love it! Love having a Christmas baby :) Mine was 12/26.

p.s. Made your cheeseburger soup last night.

Barbara H. said...

Oh how sweet that is -- that picture of your little newborn in a stocking! That certainly did make for a memorable Christmas! I loved your stories of family Christmases, too.

Jen said...

another wonderful post
love the photo
how special :)

Anonymous said...

What an awesome gift. My son was born Dec. 20 and I was kind of hoping he would of made it to Christmas day, but he got pretty close.

I love your memories especially all the awesome foods your mom used to make. My mouth was watering just reading about them.

Kari-MommaB said...

What a wonderful Christmas present... even if you DID interrupt everyone's preparations! We been wanting to trying a Christmas goose this year and from the way you describe it... we've been missing out for too long!

Have a very merry Christmas! And Happy Birthday to the little one.