Half appeased with Santa’s visit, mom would carry me into my room to sleep with grandma. While grandma stayed with us, she would sleep on the pullout bed in my bedroom. It worked out well for the most part, even if she did suck in the curtains with the intensity of her loud and earth trembling snores. I felt safe with her, because I had just recently stopped sleeping with my parents. I was the luckiest of all my sisters because grandma put a black and white TV inside my bedroom so she could watch her “programs”, as she called them. No one else had a TV other than my parents and the living room area. I’d always have a hard time falling asleep because I knew the next morning, we’d all be tearing apart wrapping paper hoping to get whatever we begged mom for that year. Grandma would always get up hours before me, just in time to make coffee and put out sugar cookies for everyone. I was always the first one of my sisters to get up and skippy on out into the living room. Grandma would just shoot me a look as though I was this desperate little monster waiting for my presents. And I was. They all wanted to rest, unwind from last night’s activities and have a cup of coffee before the chaotic rustling of gift opening started. They never had a chance with me. “Well go wake the girls so we can all open the gifts together.” my mom would say, hoping the girls were way too tired to even move. I ran as fast as I could up the stairs, hoping my sisters were wide awake. They already heard the tippidy-tap-tap of my little feet hurrying up the stairs and swish over in my feet pajamas to wreak havoc. They would all play possum and make believe they were sleeping. “Come on! Hurry! Wake up! Santa left the presents in the closet!” See, our family never put Christmas gifts under the tree like normal people, because my sisters, including me were all impatient, sneaky lil’ critters. My mother started placing all the gifts into this closet that had a lock on from the inside out it in the corridor of the upstairs bedroom area. Only mom had the key. Mom said that’s where Santa puts them because it was on the top floor so he had easier access. It always baffled me because the fireplace was in the same room as the Christmas tree...but whatever, right? They all voted me to open my presents first since I was the youngest, and of course, the most impatient of them all. They’d all watch as I open the first gift, perhaps a pair of socks and chuckle to themselves, knowing this wasn’t what I had in mind. I’d viciously tear apart another gift among the twenty boxes I had left. Each one got better and better. The last one of course, was the one I agonized my poor mother with. Back then, I didn’t say thank you to my mom or anyone, because Santa was the one who brought them...right? After everyone else opened their presents and oddly thanked my mom for some reason, we’d all hang out till noon and and stuff ourselves leftover seafood.
It was always sad to see Christmas end, but then again it wasn’t too long until New Year’s Eve arrived, where the same chaotic guests would pile into our home and make our huge living room into a dance floor. Every single person had a tumbler of scotch in their hands and a swing in their step. It was always fun watching them until mom would tuck me away after the ball would drop. Holidays were always a fun time until later in the evening when nobody remembered their names anymore. I didn’t understand exactly what happened, but I know it had something to do with the glass of carmel colored liquid my mother always told me not to touch.
I truly miss Christmas when I was younger, but so grateful I still have everyone here to celebrate it with. Merry Christmas to everyone & Happy New Year! May it bring beautiful, nostalgic memories as it does for me.