What Christmas means to me

Christmas isn’t the same anymore.  I don’t just mean Christmas had loss it’s true meaning either.  That’s another blog for another time.  This one is more personal to me.

Growing up Christmas meant getting together with your family, stuffing yourself, and opening lots of presents.  My mother was big with the family getting together, no matter how mad we may get at each other.

We would celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve.  My mother would gets up early that day and worked preparing a feast for us all.  She would have 2 kinds meat.  Usually ham and turkey, but one time we even had either duck or goose.  She would have mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, a mock crab salad, baked beans and not the kind from a can either.  There was always so much food, that if you went hungry, it was your own fault.  The tables were so full with food that we had to eat it buffet style and take a seat wherever.  Since our family had 7 kids, mom and dad, and then in-laws, and even grandkids.

I remember one Christmas, our family got together with my Uncle John’s family and he had 6 kids.  That one time there were 2 families getting together in one house.  There was also a time in our house in North Fargo, my grandparents from my step-dad were there for Christmas as well.

The house would gets so hot because of the oven being on.  After we would eat, mom and sisters, and sometimes sister-in-law would help with dishes in our small kitchen.  Dad would gets the cards ready with money in it from him, since mom usually bought the gifts.

When we were little, my step-dad would hands out all the presents.  They were all under the tree that my step-dad got just a few days before Christmas.  When he got the tree, we would then decorate it from top to bottom.  I still got the Santa Claus that lights up in the corner of the house.  Matter of fact, I now got my mother’s decorations.

As Shirley and I got a little older, we got the job of handing out the gifts.  No one would open the gifts until everyone got theirs.  After we open the gifts, dad would get a big garbage bag for all the wrapping papers to be thrown away or burned once we moved down on the farm.  Afterwards, we would have pie for dessert.  The older kids would leave shortly after, to spend Christmas with their in-laws on Christmas Day.  Those who didn’t have any in-laws would spend Christmas Day at home.

I remember one time around Christmas, my mother would gets us dress up to go Christmas Eve mass at the St.Mary’s Catholic church.  That happen only one time though.  I think they felt it was too much of a chore to get all of us kids ready for church on Christmas Eve.

As we got older, there became more grandkids.  We had one sister who was always late for Christmas.  It was because of her husband.  We would have to wait until they got there to eat and opened gifts. The kids who smoke would go outside to smoke after we ate.  I hate to say but some of the older kids would come there drinking.  They were no fun to be around.  We tried and tried to have mom and dad put their foot down; but mom just loved her family around that she couldn’t put her foot down.

One year, I got the idea of getting my folks a microwave oven for Christmas from all of us kids.  I got that idea, when I heard that my Aunt Rosella’s kids got her a microwave for Christmas.  The microwaves still works but my folks are not around anymore.

As us kids got older, we even drew names just among us kids.  That became a chore and put upon one kid to organize it.  Your guess is as good as mine who organize it.

Christmas started going downhill after my older sister, Barb died of cancer in 2001.  Ronny started drinking heavily and started a fight with dad.  It gotten to the point we didn’t  want him or Bob home for Christmas because they couldn’t behave themselves.

When my nephew, Mickey brought his girlfriend, now wife home for Christmas, that both Bob and Ronny made an ass of themselves around her.

When my mother passed away almost 5 now, the family didn’t get together like we use when she was alive.  I did take on the responsibility of making mom’s baked beans for dad  and brought it down for him on Christmas.

Now that is done as well, since he had joined mom up in heaven, this pass year.  Only certain members of the family gets together and the rest is on their own.

When we were kids, I would say the family was like the Brady Bunch.  As we gotten older, we became like a redneck family.  As the song from Montgomery Gentry, “Merry Christmas from the Family”, if you listen to the words, that song became our song that would describe our family.

I hope that this wasn’t too disturbing for you.  This was what Christmas meant to me as a child and how it changed growing up.  Now you why I said earlier, Christmas isn’t the same anymore since the folks are gone.



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