I find myself thinking of Christmas when I was growing up... a lot..
(everyone tells me it's cuz I'm getting older and that's what older people do... look back!!)
I'm not buying it!!
Instead, as I look back, I can see how the Christmas traditions we celebrate in our home now, were formed in the home I grew up in, probably most of yours were too.
The whole month of December was just different than all the other months, and it still is. There is a special glow to December. Everything is intensified, joy and fun and laughter are brighter in December. Sorrow is also deeper for many in December.
I have not found a single picture of our family at Christmas as I was growing up. Our kids today not only have gazillions of photos of their kids, but full movies as well, and lots of them are contained in the mystery of that little cell phone...
With or without photos, my memories of Christmas at 270 South Parkwood are as clear as a bell.
My mother baked all month long, and she gave away her Norwegian cookies by the hundreds, probably 1000's... but she also saved enough to satisfy the 3 of us all through Christmas.
She was born in Norway, and they celebrated on Christmas Eve with their gifts and dinner, and later the midnight church service in the frozen snow of Tromso, Norway. Her traditions were also ours as I grew up.
All of my dad's family came on Christmas Eve. The 3 of us kids could hardly stand it until that night came. Our tree was piled high with gifts for everyone. We didn't have a lot of money, but we sure knew how to use Woolworth's 5 & 10 cent store and wrap it up like gold! We used to ask my mother WHERE did you buy that? Her answer was always the same... 'at a nice department store', and we knew it was W.T. Grant or Woolworth's!
After a scrumptious dinner, the grown ups always insisted on doing the dishes before we finally got to the tree. We were practically jumping up and down by the time they were finished.
Dad always read the Christmas story from Luke, and we sang carols and Dad prayed. The candles were gleaming and the love was all around...
But part 2 is really part 1... it began as Christmas in Norway, when my mother was a child...