I was supposed to have pictures to sprinkle in with this post but discovered that most of our children’s younger years exist on floppy discs and I don’t have a computer, any longer, that can read floppy discs. So if I figure out how to get the pictures off of the floppies and onto a dvd or my external hard drive I will post them at a later time.
In any event this post is dedicated to memories of Christmas’ past and Christmas’ present. When our boys were quite young, and (Parents get the children out of the room please) still believed in Santa Claus getting ready for Christmas was quite hectic. There was months of planning. Ah I remember the thrill when the Toys R Us Big Green book would arrive in the mail. The boys would make up a Christmas list, Alice and i would then begin to work on what would be from us and what would be from Santa. We would go out numerous times shopping for the stuff. Get all different kinds of wrapping paper (with one special one just used for the gifts from Santa). Toys were hidden all over the house, the trunk of our cars, and in some cases we stashed things at friends houses that were too big to hide here. Oh yes we knew that they were tearing the house apart, what kid doesn’t? Some things we could wrap in advance because they came from Mom and Dad. And you know what, i was the worst. I would pick up my boxes and shake them trying to guess what was in them. Amazing I never broke anything. But Christmas Eve was the worst. We would pile into the family min van and travel to my inlaws house, and later my sister in laws, and spend an evening eating and feasting on traditional Italian Christmas Eve food. Fish and all the fixin’s.I have to admit, those people really know how to eat. My wife’s family opens their gifts on Christmas Evening, which to me is blasphomy, but for them tradition. Later after eating more desert, and some galiano or sambuca and pastries, Alice would carry the boys out to the car and make our way back to our home. Usually the boys would sleep on the ride and be wide awake when we got home.
Darn, we had work to do. But first we needed to put out cookies, and milk for Santa, and of course carrots for the reindeer. Then Ali and I would begin the pleading of “GO TO BED. The earlier you go to bed the earlier Santa will arrive”. Eventually they would wind down. Then Ali and I would begin to wrap the special gifts from Santa. It was late, very late, and we were tired but he this was Christmas, wasn’t it? Special paper not used for anything else, and Alice developed a special ‘elf’ handwriting that would be different from her usual chicken scratch. After a couple of hours of this we would head off to bed. Mom in her kerchief and me in my cap for a long winters nap. Not because I forgot to go out and drink some milk, eat the cookies, and nibble on carrot sticks. Then just with exhaustion taking over we would pass out.
But were we to sleep late on Christmas morning? No way. After about 3 hours of sleep, Bill and Adam would be up and jumping on us to get up because Santa had arrived.
So with coffee in one hand, i would set up the camcorder and begin to record our opening the presents. It was dark outside when we started and slowly the light would shine through the windows. By the time we were done I was ready for a nap but no, we needed to eat breakfast and then get ready for the family to come over and feast all over again.
What seemed like a nightmare is now nothing more than very fond memories.
Now for Christmas today. The boys are men. Toys R Us won’t see us until there are grandchildren. This year 99% of our shopping was accomplished Amazon. Not at the mall, no crowds, and smaller boxes under the tree. No less expensive but it looks less impressive than the big boxes, the bicycle that I assembled at 1am and just put a bow on but Christmas just the same.
Here I sit. The only thing left to do is fill the stockings, hung with care, and that will be it for Christmas Eve. Definetely more peaceful but not as exciting.
Ah the good old days. Ah the great memories. Oh and yes, at sometime, each boy got a Red Ryder bb gun with double action pump……..