I feel like I cheated myself and you. I can write a better Christmas Memories post than what I gave here. See normally I write my posts at work where I have tons of time to think about what I want to write, but last week work was sooo busy I didn't have time. So I had to write the post at home with dogs barking, husbands cleaning, and oven timers dinging. Needless to say, I basically typed a few sentences and threw some pictures on to make it cute and clicked publish. I can do better. Sorry to my family who I cheated, we really had some wonderfully strict traditions that got completely short changed. Hopefully this captures how it really was a little bit better. If you'd like a soundtrack to go along with this post click here!
Twas the night
When all through the farm-house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a...well...I was, cause you see I was sick. I probably ate too many pieces of pie or too many of Aunt Carole's sticky buns.
stockings sheets and blankets all hung
around the house with care
In hopes That no children
would see what was there
The children were nestled
All safe in their bed, floor, sleeping bags, couch, wherever there was room really (god-forbid the creepy bear rug in grandma & grandpa's basement)
While visions of sugarplums
Danced in their heads
And grandma in her kerchief
And grandpa snoring away,
Had just settled down
For a long winters nap
When all of a sudden
There arose such a grumble
I sprang from my bed
To run to the bathroom (uh-oh!)
Away to the bathroom
I flew like a flash
Tore open the door
And threw up the toilet seat
As I walked back to bed
rubbing my aching head
I heard a faint noise
Not snoring, or breathing
Or any such thing.
When what To my wandering ears
But a jingle & jangle
coming from near
I closed my eyes tight
to concentrate with all my might
And heard it again...
jingle, jangle, jingle
And got a little tingle
Could it be???
Could it be Santa?
As I fell back to sleep
I didn't make a peep
I would wait until morning
To see if anyone else heard it.
Ok we're done with the rhyming for now.
When my eyes finally popped open in the morning, I quickly asked Ben & Sarah (of course they were already awake) if they'd heard anything. A jingle or a jangle??? They looked at me kind of crazy and both said, "No". I ran to find my Dad, and he too said, "No". It had only been me. I was the only one who heard Santa.
We gathered around the table (all 18 of us if my math and memory serve me right) where a grapefruit with a cherry awaited each of us. We ate and ate, the kids eating quickly and the adults eating as slow as possible. We had sticky buns, eggs, sausage patties, bacon, toast, juice, and the dreaded coffee.
See, the rule in the Cornwell house was (and still is) that no one was allowed to open presents, let alone see the presents until after Christmas breakfast.
We even go as far as hanging sheets and blankets up to cover the entrances to the room where the unwrapped presents / stockings are. I remember once barely touching one of the sheets and my cousin Keith telling me my presents were going to disappear if I touched the sheet.
Christmas breakfast also included reading the Christmas Story from The Bible. Normally, either Uncle Rod or Uncle Boogie would read the story, but I do remember Annie and Ben also reading it. Before we could even begin reading the story all the adults had to have a fresh cup of coffee. Then in the middle someone would want more coffee, and at the end of the story the coffee pot would inevitably be empty and we would have to wait for a whole new pot to be brewed before we could line up for presents. As kids we would literally watch each drop of coffee being made.
Finally it was time to line up. Yes, that's right. We had to line up from youngest to oldest to run through the sheets to find where Santa had laid our stocking. The excitement and energy in the little farm-house was overflowing. We would run in and tear through our stockings. We would usually find some random nuts, socks, toothpaste and toothbrush from Santa in our stockings (it was weird how one year the toothbrushes all said Dr.'s Kinser & Langwith on them, but we didn't question it). We then would normally have one unwrapped present laying next to our stocking from Santa.
After all the Santa gifts had been found, the task of distributing the other gifts began. Gifts were passed out to each person, and then again youngest to oldest everyone would open one gift and everyone else would watch. There was usually some clue written on the outside of the present that you would have to read aloud and try to guess what was inside.
For example..."to keep your tootsie's warm" would equal socks.
This would go on for hours. Pretty much the best hours of my childhood.
The thing about Christmas in my family was, tradition. Even today, as an adult, I get sad if traditions aren't followed or are broken. Because you know what??? It meant / means something, and I would be willing to bet it means something to all of you too.
During this crazy time of year, please take time to enjoy your family, reminisce about family traditions, and tell those people in your life that you love them.
But I heard him exclaim
As he drove out of sight
Happy christmas to all
And to all a goodnight