Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you are ready for all the fun of Christmas. For us, it is going to be a nice lunch with my mom today and then we will prepare for the long drive to my sister's home tomorrow.
I was so lucky to be raised in a household where my parents adored each other. That allowed for such a feeling of security and love that we were all able to spring into life from there. There was so much laughter and singing and music and card playing and long conversations around the dinner table. Those are the memories that flood my brain this time of year. I am so very grateful for my fantastic childhood.
My dad never forgot what it felt like to be a kid. Christmas was extra special. It was the anticipation of Santa and all the presents that were even better than the actual gifts! And boy, did he build that anticipation! We woke up, looked under the tree, chose one present each, got dressed, went to Mass, ate breakfast and then we were able to open each present one at a time, taking turns. It took hours. Lots of little things. My parents had a lot more love than money. It was such a magical time of year.
I tried to give William that same feeling and even added a couple of other traditions. Before Christmas, we would get all dressed up and go to lunch at a fancy place in the city after seeing the huge Christmas tree in Union Square. We would wander through Gump's department store with it's old staircase and hidden rooms filled with exotic goods and very special Christmas ornaments. We would press our noses up to the glass in front of the fine crystal in awe. Sadly, they moved a bit further down Post Street and it has never been the same. It is still a magnificent store but more modern.
And Christmas trees.
My dad would spend days decorating the tree. The old-fashioned huge light bulbs were carefully placed but what would take the time were the icicles, which most people just tossed onto the tree in the 50s. No, not him. He would work every night after dinner, with Christmas music playing, placing every single one individually on each branch. We could help but it was very tedious work. He loved it and was very proud of his work each year. In their later life, they often had flocked trees and he had to let the icicles go.
Michael and I moved into our current house when William was a year old. It really is all he remembers. It has very high cathedral ceilings and for most of his childhood, we had an 8 or 9 foot tree. I have photos of William on Michael's shoulders placing the bulbs on the highest limbs. Icicles? They were out of fashioned and I just didn't have the patience.
I hope William has the same feelings of being raised in a home where it was a fun household run by parents who adored each other.
Happy Christmas Eve!