Favourite Christmas Memories


#1

I’ve been reminiscing about childhood (and some adult)Christmas memories; the traditions in my family; the complete wonder and awe I had as a child, for the entire season, and it’s celebration. I have religious memories… secular memories… family memories… winter activity memories… also some sad Christmas memories.

I wanted to start a thread to hear from you about your memories… they can be joyful, they can be fun, they can be sad, they can be inspirational, they can be romantic, they can be about being lonely…they can be whatever you would like to share.

Thank you for sharing and have a Blessed Christmas!


#2

Christmas 1983. I was 5 years old. This still stands out as one of the best.

It started with early family Mass, of course. My kindergarten class was the choir. Then, on to my maternal grandparents’ home in Dearborn. This was still more than a year before Grandpa’s diabetes left him bedridden, and the last year before one aunt/uncle pair moved to Florida. So my mom, her six siblings, and all of their families crammed into my grandparents’ house, where they had the most awesome tree: real tinsel, big snowglobe lights, etc. After dinner and presents, it was on to my dad’s oldest brother’s home on Grosse Ile. As my dad’s parents had both died before he was out of his early 20’s, the two oldest brothers took over as patriarchs. So again, my dad, all six of his siblings, and all of their families crammed into my uncle and aunt’s house to eat tamales that our family had made the week before (Grandma’s recipe) and other Mexican goodies, open presents, and break the pinata (which my 4-year-old cousin refused to do because she didn’t want to hurt it. The rest of us had no such qualms). After that, the long (or so it seemed) ride home, with my dad gleefully pointing out red lights on planes arriving at Detroit Metro Airport and telling me that Rudolph was leading Santa’s sleigh. I couldn’t even tell you what presents I opened the next day. That wasn’t the important part. There is nothing that trumps being one of the youngest members of a big, close family at Christmas. I am sorry that my kids will likely miss out.

Chrismas 2003 was great, too. It was our last one with my grandma (who passed away in May 2004), who along with my mom’s recently widowed oldest sister, joined us for Christmas Eve dinner at my parents’ house. It was also special because it was the first Christmas for me and my husband after our marriage. Neither my grandma nor my aunt was feeling spry enough to attend late Mass with us, but the rest of us went. The next day we went to stay with my in-laws, had another Christmas celebration with them, and attended DH’s cousin’s wedding on Dec. 26th. So again, lots of family. :slight_smile:


#3

Those are beautiful memories! God Bless you and your family… and Merry Christmas!


#4

one of my earliest memories is of our school Christmas plays, in the early years the nuns made us wear purchased costumes, the dresses in 1st grade were a sleazy nylon type material that I thought was ugly and I was all set to go on strike, but did not have the guts, so I went on with all the other little girls dressed as dolls–the boys were toy soldiers–and I think we sang Toyland. I was in the back row someplace, the pudgy kid who couldn’t sing and was totally clueless.

see if I can rememer what song we did each year,
Let’s see 2nd grade was Here comes Suzy Snowflake we wore white dresses and some crown type deal on our heads, have no idea what the boys wore; 3rd grade was Up on the Housetop, we wore jammies, great costume; 4th grade was Winter Wonderland, White sweaters, red skirts, you had to have your bells sewn to elastic by the time of dress rehearsal, we could not afford the bells so I got kicked out of the chorus line and had to stand in back and sing with all the snowbirds; 5th grade Sleighride, 6th Gr. My Favorite Things, 7th Grade Silver Bells, 8th grade O Holy Night. I am sure there must have been more religous songs in these productions, but I think the goal was to find something that could keep a whole class moving on stage for a few minutes. No video cameras but plenty of parents with home movie cameras.


#5

One of my favorite Christmas memory was one I had away from my family. I was studying abroad in England and I got invited to a friend’s family for Christmas since I wasn’t going back home. Anyways, this family represented what Christmas should be like where the family is happy to be together and plays games and stuff. I never really experienced that before since my parents divorced so Cristmas usually is not a fun time since someone is always left out and then my family in general do not like to be together and everyone is just glad the day is over so they don’t have to go through it again until the next holliday. All I cared about Christmas was that I better get all that money I usually get from my dad or grandpa or I better get that gift I need. That experience changed the way I think about it and I’m glad I got to experience it so I know what Christmas should be like if I ever one day have a family.


#6

Filipino families have different ways of celebrating Christmas. Some go to the mall and shop with their families, some go to the park, but I think, most families celebrate it with family reunions with a party at home, just like my family.

For my family, Christmas is very special.

We normally start of with a Christmas breakfast—which is made special by this yummy chocolate drink made from a chocolate tablet that we crush and cook with milk and whisked manually with a wooden beater. What’s nice about it is its thick, very rich in texture and taste --heavy on the calories (that’s why we do this only for Christmas:D ).

A storygoes that there was once a priest who liked chocolate. Whenever he had a high-ranking visitor, he would say, “Chocolate Eh”–and his cook would know that he wanted the chocolate cooked with milk. When he had an ordinary visitor, he would say, “Chocolate Ah” —and his cook would know he wanted chocolate mixed with water to be served.

Now I don’t know how this story is true as it does sound discriminatory—but the chocolate with milk is really yummy as it has small grits of chocolate when we drink it. (Maybe I’ll try the chocolate + water version next time for comparison. :slight_smile: ) As far as I know, my grandparents did the same when my mom was a child. We do this every year, though, I must admit, it is not typical Filipino tradition but more of a family one.

Anyway, by lunchtime, the house is teeming with family (coming from different parts of the city) and we normally have a pot-luck kind of celebration, where each family gets to contribute one special dish. Again —more calories! (This is a day of forgetting diets :smiley: )

Me–my forte is baking. One happy Christmas baking moment that I remember is when a friend *(who is a TV personality ) *of my mom called up and said that her husband *(also a TV personality) *loved the fruitcake I made (which my mom gave them for Christmas) and wanted some more.

She said that she was surprised that her husband liked it because he normally doesn’t like fruitcake. She asked if she could buy --but mom said she was happy to give them some more as I don’t sell them.

I was flattered, of course. I guess, what set my fruitcake apart is that I’m heavy handed with the nuts (did not follow the recipe) coz I love them. Its more of a nut-and-fruit-and-oh-by-the-way-there’s-cake-there-somewhere-kind-of-thing.

I worry about the extra pounds I gain later on. :rolleyes:

To culminate this most special day— we (my family) would go to mass–which the highlight of the day.

Always, we remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! :slight_smile:


#7

My favorite Christmas memories from my childhood was visiting family on Christmas day. We would split between my 2 grandma’s house. The house was always full at Grandma J’s house because she had 13 kids, so we always had big, fun parties.

Great memories…and it’s bittersweet this year because they just sold her house. :frowning:

My other grandma would make a big delicious meal for us. The party wasn’t as big and “fun”, but boy do I miss grandma S’s homemade gravy, her laugh, the way she’d wobble around the kitchen with sweat pouring down her face as she labored to feed her family with love. I miss her homemade apple pie, playing with her antique china set in her bedroom with my cousins, the way she’d toot as she walked across the room and let out a giggle, I miss the way her white hair was always brushed back and curly, how she’d always make sure she had exactly equal gifts for us 4 grandchildren, she’d go out of her way to make sure everything was fair and nobody felt slighted. And then she’d give me and my sister $$ and whisper “Don’t tell the others”…and I’m sure she did the same with “the others”, lol! I miss the fruit she’d put in our stockings…

Oh man, now I’m near tears!


#8

Thank you for sharing and have a Blessed Christmas!

It’s interesting that the folks who have responded haven’t really talked about what they received but the fact that they were with family and had great food.
There is something so comforting about family at Christmas.
Add in good food, music and pretty decorations (trees, wreaths,colored lights) and it’s no wonder that it’s the most wonderful time of the year.


#9

One of my favorite Christmas memories involves singing Christmas carols in elementary school. The nuns would ask for volunteers to sing at nursing homes and they would also walk with us around several neighborhoods and we would go door to door singing. This was before I was old enough to realize that I sound like a strangled chicken when I sing:D

I also remember Christmas Eve and my grandmother’s house. All of my aunts and uncles would be there, along with my cousins. We had a huge tree with all of the old fashioned ornaments on it and strings of lights with the really large bulbs. My grandmother, mother, and aunts would all cook, and the food was wonderful. Gosh, I haven’t thought about these things in years.


#10

I can’t think of one particular favorite Christmas memory, but Dad would normally let us stay up sort of late and watch the Pope give his Christmas mass on tv.

I was the youngest of 5 kids and I can remember me and my next oldest brother would always wake up first and be so excited to go open our presents that we would run in and wake up my mom and dad but this was invariably the only day of the year that they would sleep in. :stuck_out_tongue: When they refused to get up, we would start waking up the rest of the brothers. None of them ever wanted to get up, The oldest always gave us trouble and he demanded that he eat breakfast AND take a shower before he came to the tree…:eek: The wait was excruciating. He loved to torture us.

Anyway after we opened our presents, my mom would prepare a big meal same as Thanksgiving and my grandparents would come over and we’d all play and visit for the rest of the day.

We used to listen to this record every year while we decorated the tree. I don’t know who it was, it was a compilation. It was probably Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra and people like that. I always loved that record. When I was 18 one of my older brothers died. The Christmas after that was really bad. I was doing fine and we were decorating the tree. My mom put that record on and I just broke down and lost it. :frowning: That was a really sad Christmas.


#11

Christmas dinner at home: roast sirloin of beef with roast potatoes and carrots, yorkshire pudding, peas, apple pie for dessert with a slice of cheddar cheese. we were allowed to open one gift Christmas eve, everything else had to wait until morning, that is, until my dad had his coffee.

In-laws, if we were visiting them, Christmas eve buffet, with dad’s signature swedish meatballs and appetizer type foods. one year DH and his brothers got into a giggling fit, nothing about the food, and he took umbrage, that was the last year he spent all day cooking for that ungrateful brood.

at the in-laws santa came on Christmas Eve just after dark, so the presents were opened while we pigged out all evening, then midnite Mass (kids were usually sound asleep by this time so we drew straws to see who would stay home and babysit). Christmas day was Visiting Aunt Mary, millions of cousins, more food, more noise, usually bundle the kids up send them out in the snow to run off some energy.
then Midnight Mass.

somebody commented many of our memories were about food, but at that time there were definite feast and famine periods, so pancakes and sausage for breakfast on Christmas was a real treat, as we had oatmeal, cereal or PB toast most of the year. An entire roast of beef was something we saw rarely, most years only on Christmas. Dessert was unknown in our family, something that happened only on holidays. The bowl of oranges and others fruits, and the tangerine in the stocking were real treats.


#12

When I was 11, I was in bed for 3 months with kidney disease. My Mom was able to care for me at home because she was a registered nurse.
All I wanted for Christmas for 4 years was ice skates but the doctor said I was not well enough for strenuous exercise.
On my 15th Christmas, when I least expected it and had about given up begging, I got ice skates!!
Mom had cleared it with the doctor first, of course.


#13

To echo an earlier post, “Thank you!” to everyone that has posted! The memories have all been most wonderful! It’s funny how as I read a post certain comments have brought another flood of memories… some of them memories I hadn’t thought of in years.


#14

This needs to be bumped, as it’s Christmas Eve.

So this year is shaping up to be pretty good. We had a couple of wonderful surprises last night, at our first Christmas party with Mom’s siblings and their kids/grandkids since 2001 (the year before Grandma’s stroke). First, my cousin D., who married a Jehovah’s Witness and became one himself, brought himself and his two kids to the party. Most of us had not seen the kids since they were babies, and his 8-year-old daughter was especially excited to meet everyone and to discover that we were all related to her. Then my cousin C. from West Virginia showed up at the front door with his wife, their two kids, and new son-in-law. They drove straight up that afternoon just for the party, and hadn’t even told my aunt (his mom), who was so surprised and happy that she cried. I hadn’t seen his kids since Grandpa’s funeral in 1988, so it was amazing to see them as adults. Most of the cousins showed up with their kids, so all the little ones were running around and playing, just like we did when we were the little ones.

Today I got to see many of my friends at Mass this morning, and had coffee after Mass with a good friend. Tonight it’s dinner and Mass with my husband and parents, and tomorrow it’s dinner at my uncle’s house- dad’s second-oldest brother.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone else has a happy one.


#15

Christmas of '98.
We were so worried that we couldn’t travel, as in the preceding weeks both kids were recovering from Chicken Pox! They were over it, we packed up the kids (5 & 3 at the time) and drove 7hrs. to Chicago on Christmas Eve day.

After going to late Mass that evening I started to feel lousy! Had a 104 fever, the chills, and felt like I went 10 rounds with Mohammed Ali. Woke up the next morning with funny little red dots all over :wink: . Never occured to us/me that I never had the Chicken Pox as a kid! Well, I got 'em NOW!

Spent Christmas Day in bed - too sick and achey to move. My Step-mother brought up a tray with Christmas Dinner, and my wife & kids brought up their plates and ate with me. Later that evening I stumbled out of bed, and sat at the foot of the stairs with the family sliding my gifts over to me.

My Step-mother died in March of the next year… it was the last time I saw her alive.


#16

Midnight Mass features big in my childhood - my parents moved into the country after they retired so too far away to attend Midnight Mass now. Of course when I was littler I’d fall asleep during it.

Every year we promised ourselves that we’d wait until after Midnight Mass to open our presents, and every year by about 9 pm Dad would get so impatient that he’d give us the signal to let rip and open 'em.


#17

Christmas Eve 2001. My grandmother was in the hospital because she had a stroke. We had a get together at my aunt and uncle’s house. We ate dinner and opened presents. Then we decided to visit my grandmother in the hospital. So we all hopped into our cars and drove to the hospital. My grandmother was so happy to see all of us walk in to her room. We visited for a couple hours. My grandmother smiled the whole time. That was our last Christmas with her. She died in early December the following year.:frowning:


#18

hearing my grandfather sing O Holy Night acapella as a soloist right before Midnight Mass. He had one of those gorgeous booming voices that you wanting to do nothing other than to really fall on your knees with joy when he sang “Fall on your knees, hear the angels voices, oh Christ divine…” It was just gorgeous.

And it’s been two years since his tragic death. I joined our choir here and we sang that song for Midnight Mass. It was kind of hard to get through, but wow… our priest was crying by the end of it and he said the power of it was just moving.


#19

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