When I was a kid, we lived in Detroit and my Mom’s parents lived in Newark, OH (outside of Columbus). So, we made a lot of trips to Ohio and they made a lot of trips up here. Those trips were for Easter, my birthday (in May), my brother’s birthday (in June), 2 weeks every summer with my grandparents, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas. My Grandma always signed cards Love, G & G – it was always special to see that!
The holidays were wonderful, magical times – even when I got older. I miss those days.
Thanksgiving was OK, a chance to get together with G & G – and the catalogs! We had to mark what we would like to have.
For Christmas, there were the gifts from each other – with clues so we had to guess what was inside, and gifts from Santa. Santa was always great – no clues on those gifts! During my junior and senior years of high school (because I was taking French) my Grand Mere put ALL of my clues en francais! It took longer, but I got them. (good thing I got As and Bs in French class!)
They had a small 1 ½ story house with a full, finished basement. Grandma always had 2 trees, one in the living room and one in the basement/family room. She would put the gifts for friends under the living room tree and all the rest were in the family room. Grandma would always find the most elaborate/creative way to wrap a gift and they were always beautiful – we all hated to open them! Grandpa always spent time in the darkroom making their Christmas cards – those were fun, no one could wait to see what he would come up with next!
Then I had the chance to move to Colorado. That Christmas we drove home and spent time with my parents and Kim’s parents (he’s now my husband). But by that time my G & G had moved to Florida – better weather for their health. That’s when Christmas lost a little bit of its magic for me.
I would mail gifts to G & G and they would mail to me with the understanding that we couldn’t open our gifts until we were on the phone and could hear each other’s reactions.
With Kim being the youngest of five there are a LOT of nieces and nephews besides his siblings, and parents. I was so glad when we went to the drawing of names so we could get the perfect gift for that person (and his parents), it was a lot easier. We always had a lot of fun getting together – I enjoyed every bit of it! (especially chasing the kids and having my Mother-in-Law yell at all of us to stop!)
But, Christmas has changed a lot for me over the years. My Mother died in 1990. For Christmas of that year I had taken one of her dolls and had her cleaned/re-strung. I made a dress for her and that was my gift to my Grandparents. Their clue? We haven’t seen each other in a very long time. I remember all the fun I had, and am so happy to get to be with you both again. Wouldn’t you know it? My Grandmother started crying and told me which of Mom’s dolls I’d sent! G & G both died in 1995. Both of Kim’s parents are gone. So, we only get together with my brother, Dad and his wife (Maryanne). Then we get together with his brother Al and his wife Colleen. We don’t exchange gifts. None of Kim’s family get together anymore. Yes, I do miss those wonderful, fun, special Christmas times. But this year? This year will be incredibly special. You see, Kim was diagnosed with cancer in January and (Thank You God) he seems to have beaten it! So, no matter what happens, I will have a wonderful Christmas because I will still be with my husband.
So, what do the holidays mean to you? I do wish you wonderful Christmas memories!