Christmas Eve eve

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of walking down memory lane lately. I’m not sure why I’m in such a reflective mood, but it’s not a bad thing. I love visiting with memories, especially the good ones. Like Christmas.

I’ve probably told this story before, but I’m still going to talk about it again. As one of five children living in a house with only ONE bathroom (yes, when I was little, houses only had one), getting ready for anything was…interesting. And Christmas was no exception.

Laurie young

A young Laurie after the pin curls.

The night before, my sisters and I got baths, then Mom would pin curl our hair while our younger brothers got their baths. The next morning, we’d get all dressed up and go to 8AM mass. After mass, we’d come home and cook a BIG breakfast.

You’d think, then, we could open gifts. Nosiree. We had to clean up from breakfast first. Put the food away, do the dishes (wash AND dry) and have everything in its place. Then, and only then, did we get to open gifts.

It was agonizing at the time. And now it’s one of my fondest memories growing up. I got a lot of mileage out of it, too. My kids didn’t hear the “I had to walk 5 miles to school, in the snow, with no shoes, uphill both ways” story growing up. They heard the “I had to wait until everything was done Christmas morning to open my gifts” story. And, since there was a certain amount of “waiting” in their young lives, I’m pretty sure their kids are stuck with the same hardship story. Lol.

Ahhh, aren’t traditions wonderful? 🙂

What about you? Do you open gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Do you have fond childhood memories you’d like to share? We love hearing about traditions and other folks stories.

And, whether you celebrate this Christmas or catch a new movie (since theaters are about the only thing open on Christmas Day), I hope your day is filled with food, family and friends, and fun.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

15 responses to “Christmas Eve eve

  1. Merry Christmas–what torture for a kid—having to wait so long to open presents. lol My mom put out the Santa presents so I woul find them Christmas morning. I pretened to believe in Santa so she would keep giving me gifts. lol My brother got mad because my mom was giving me girl gifts when I was really young, so she swtiched to cowboy outfits and wagons. lol

    I am 80 and my kids in their 50′. We do not do much but visit our single daughter and send gifts to all the grand and great grand kids.


    • I know what you mean. Our family is spreading out, too. I’m blessed in that my local brothers and sisters and I still get together for Christmas brunch. Our parents are close to 90, so we count each year as an extra blessing. And we will get to spend time with our 5 children (and 7 grandchildren) shortly after the holiday.
      That’s funny what you said about the “girl gifts”. I was the third daughter born to my parents (they got two sons after me), but I was always more tomboy than girlie girl. I wanted the cap guns and bikes, not Barbies. Lol.
      Merry Christmas to you and your family, HMN.

  2. You certainly were a cutie, Laurie (and of course, you still are!). It’s lovely to have wonderful memories of childhood and at this time of year mine seem to come to the fore. Must be something about getting older 🙂 My parents used to fill pillow cases with presents for my brother and me and when we had all opened our presents by the fire and the Christmas tree, my dad would go to the small closet in the living room, draw back the curtain and say “look what Father Christmas has left in here!” It would be our ‘main’ present and invariably the thing we wanted most in the world at the time. The tradition continued right up until we lost my dad and it’s one I very much treasure.

    Merry Christmas to all!

    • Thanks. And that’s a wonderful tradition, Tricia. To have those presents hidden and show them at just the right time probably made your Christmas extra special.
      Have a wonderful holiday!

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      For some reason, this made me cry. I’m thinking because it all ended with the passing of your father. I’m sorry for your loss, Tricia. I love that you have this precious treasure in your memory vault. Merry Christmas!

  3. Christmas is filled with memories for me. Growing up we opened gifts in the morning until my dad said enough because I couldn’t get to sleep and they would stay up until the wee hours to smuggle the gifts under the tree.

    When the kids were growing up we would go out for Christmas Eve dinner, back then it was a favorite hamburger place. Through the years we have grown out of hamburgers but still go out on Christmas Eve. This year there will be 14 of us. Then we get up at the crack of dawn to open gifts. By the end of Christmas day we are all pooped and feeling happy and loved.

    Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a day to add to your memory collection.

    • So you do a big Christmas eve dinner and we do a big brunch Christmas morning. Both are great traditions. Do you all dive into the gift opening or do it one at a time?

      • We seem to eat a lot. Christmas Eve dinner, morning brunch and then a Christmas dinner. No wonder we’re pooped by the end of the day. It’s all that shoveling food in. 🙂

        We open one gift at a time. My first memories are of Dad as santa and then Jack and now Rick.

  4. We adults do the one at a time thing, too. Not the kids, though. We let them go at it and once that chaos is done, we have our turn. 🙂 Wonderful memories, Lavada. That’s what it’s all about, eh?

  5. Valerie J. Patterson

    Laurie, I never could escape the pin curls, either. Every holiday…Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving…my head was tortured. 😛

    Christmas at my house was always very exciting. Christmas eve seemed to be just as busy as Christmas day. Candlelight services, late dinners, family visiting at our home. And then the week following Christmas was spent visiting various relatives each night and then one night ALL of them coming to our home. I loved that my family was so close because now, we’re spread out all across the country and it seems weddings and funerals draw us back.

    When my dad was still with us, he would pick me up early Christmas eve and he and I would have brunch just the two of us. Steve would be working and my mom stayed home to take care of last minute “issues”. Then Dad and I would finish up whatever shopping he might have left to do and finally head to my parents’ home. Steve would join us after work, then my sisters and their families would gather and we’d celebrate and exchange gifts.

    New traditions take the place of older ones. Steve and I usually have Christmas eve at our home and invite my family for both lunch and dinner. If we have snow, we play outside, young and old. After everyone has gone (usually around 11 PM) Steve opens a bottle of champagne and he and I exchange gifts. Christmas day we have dinner with his family.

    With new traditions come new memories, but it’s nice and cozy to recall all of them! 😛

    Merry Christmas!

  6. Love it. Dishes before gifts. You had to work it! LOL!

    We open some on Christmas eve- with my parents and then Christmas morning, there are Santa presents under the tree. We also have a tradition between my dad and I. It’s a competition to be the first to say ( on the 23rd) “Merry Christmas Eve, Eve” – I even used it in a story so I was happy to see the title of your post.

    • Lol. Guess I played right into your story. I love all this discussion of traditions, both old and new. It’s a nice reminder that spending time with each other is what it’s all about.

  7. Oh, love those cute curls! Dishes first, then gifts – brilliant. When we were young the tree went up Christmas Eve after us kids went to bed so when we came down in the morning, there it was was our gifts underneath. It was such an exciting, magical morning. And our treat for Mum was us kids washed and dried the dishes after Christmas lunch.

    • Wow, I’ve heard of folks putting their trees up Christmas Eve. What an overnight transformation! And you got to do dishes AFTER presents? Your mother’s a very nice lady. 🙂

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