Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Little Bit of Christmas

  Sometimes I long for the Christmases I had when I was a child, when everyone my heart loved lived only a few minutes apart. 
  Christmas Eve was a Norwegian Christmas with about 20 of my mom's family at one house -- great aunts and uncles, grandparents, aunt and uncle, cousins.  After a feast of traditional foods and mountains of dishes, Santa's sleigh bells were heard outside.  Chaos ensued with wrapping paper flying, new dolls crying, blinding flash bulbs on the old cameras popping.  
  Church was at 11 p.m.  The sanctuary, filled with spruce trees and pine garlands, brightened with ropes of red and gold, candles and choirs, joyous organ and trumpet music, and the holy comfort of tradition, was never more gorgeous or warm than on Christmas Eve.
Me (left) and my baby sister 

 Then, half asleep we trudged out into the snow and cold that shocked us awake for the drive back to the party.  Out of the kitchen came the ladies in their Christmas aprons with "a little midnight supper" -- leftover turkey, pickled herring, Christmas cookies, coffee -- to fortify us for the ride home and a few hours of sleep. 
  Then, the next day, Christmas Day, we did it all over again with Dad's side of the family.

Me, cousin, and sister, Christmas Eve

Now we all live so far apart, from Wisconsin and Minnesota to South Carolina, California to Florida.  The effort to bestow presents -- and presence -- on children and grandchildren takes us most of  a month!  This week we had Christmas #2 with my daughter and son-in-law and one of my grandsons from Minnesota when they visited my mom in Florida.  

  It was pouring rain when we crossed the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, the tops of the bridge sails hidden in the fog.  Nine rainy hours later, we arrived in central Florida.

  Mason was the only one brave enough to play in the ocean.  The rest of us were sitting on the beach in sweaters, jackets, and long pants. 

  He loved a visit to the Kennedy Space Center
and wore his new space helmet on the 
plane trip home to Minnesota.

My best Christmas present so far (and we have two more Christmases to go)!


  1. Thank you dear friend for sharing of yourself. You touched me today

  2. It is true what you say about families being distributed all over the globe. I know a couple, working class immigrants, who did everything for their three children, put them all through university, one has a PhD, another is a medical doctor and the third an accomplished artist. Not one of them lives within three days drive of their parents, and one on another continent. Christmas, Thanksgiving etc. come and go for the parents with no family at all with them. They poured everything they had into making sure their children had all the tools to prosper in North America, but any semblance of unity has been destroyed in the process. The kids even go for years without seeing each other.

  3. I recall celebrating with cousin and big gathering. Christmas eve will be at my sister law usual 15 to 20 people there.
    And off to my youngest son in laws about 6 to 10 people there.
    Coffee is on

  4. My family was spread out even when I was a kid with my Mom's family being in Oklahoma and us in California. Now Mac's family is in California, mine in Oklahoma and our daughter in Japan -- thank goodness she comes home to us for Christmas.

  5. I think those of us who had the traditional Christmas you describe do look back at those times.

  6. That is beautiful. Love your childhood story. XOXO

  7. Lovely photos.
    The good old days :) yes, my husbands family used to all get together as they lived close, but my parents lived a fair distance from their family so Christmas as a child was always just spent with me and my parents :)
    You have wonderful memories there.

  8. So nice to see the old photos and read your sweet memories. Your grandson looks so happy with his helmet, I bet he will become an astronaut! I can see he is the spitting image of his grandmother :)

  9. Oh Cynthia, this was the sweetest Christmas post. Reading about the old days almost makes me cry, but then seeing you with your grandson made me happy. Gosh, that Charleston bridge gives me chills. It may be scarier than that bridge and tunnel in Virginia, I post about every time I cross it. :) Have fun and enjoy all your Christmases! Love, Henny

  10. Oh approaching sleigh bells - how beautiful those Christmases must have been. Aren't our Christmas memories precious, if we're lucky. We only have to travel 2 hours to complete our Christmas with family, so I feel for you coping with that distance between loved ones.

  11. It was very interesting to hear of your personal memories of Christmas. I hope you manage to see all your family over the Christmas season. Lovely photo of you with your grandson.

  12. Great photo of you and grandson, big smiles.
    I remember thinking that we had a long way to travel when I was very young by having to go to the next county. Cars weren't as efficient as they are today. You certainly are on the move here at Christmas time. Wishing you safe traveling.

  13. What a big smile your Mason has, warms my heart to see you with a little grand:)