Courtesy of Mama’s Losin’ it.
Christmas Eve always felt special to me. Maybe it was the way my mother let us open one gift (pajamas, always pajamas) or the sheer anticipation of the next day. The one I remember more than anything was when I was about 13.
That evening, my mother made a particularly tasty pork loin. We got all dressed up and went to church, which I loved doing around the holidays because of all the extra lights, and plants, and incense. Mass was always longer but I never minded; the story of Jesus’ birth was fascinating. When we got home, the food was ready and the four of us, losing our Churching clothes, sat down to a warm meal and togetherness.
When we finished and were sated (I am sure there were probably green beans and mashed potatoes and some sort of roll) we put on jackets (for it was actually cool in South Florida that year) and piled into the car. As was our tradition, we sought the coolest light displays. My dad seemed to know just which neighborhoods to go to and the four of us oohed and ahhed at all the spectacular lights.
We returned to a funny sight: our beagle puppy had escaped his kitchen confinement and was bouncing around at the front window as we opened the door. This seems like such a wonderful memory for me and I am not entirely sure why. I guess it’s just the spirit that dog had and makes me sad that he’s gone; my dad loved that dog.
I don’t remember what pajamas we got and I can tell you that I – at that point – had obviously figured out the truth about Santa but even once I stopped believing he was real, I still felt the spirit of that idea. I was still excited by the fact that something magical happened while we slept, even if it was just my parents.
Now that I am the parent and try to recreate that feeling of magic for my own children, I like to think back to the carefree days and bask in that warm glow that those memories give me. And perhaps we will start forging our own memories and they too will someday look back on Christmas with the same fondness.