I love Christmas. This sentiment is shared by most, but not all of the people I come in contact with. In fact, I know several people that just can’t stand the annual holiday. Many of them do so for religious reasons, expressing their distaste for the “commercialization” of Christmas. But I can’t help but love Christmas, regardless of cliche it might be.
Christmas was always a special time for me as a child. When my grandparents on my father’s side were still alive, we would drive down to San Antonio every December to visit them. One of my grandfather’s many talents was architecture- he built more than 300 houses in the San Antonio area, and he and my grandmother lived in one of the houses he had built. It wasn’t the most extravagant home, but it was very large with a kitchen, two dining rooms, two car garage, living room, game room, four bedrooms, and office and three bathrooms. As a child, it seemed almost never-ending. Beyond that, the house sat on at least an acre or two, which allowed me and my twin brother to spend countless hours “exploring.” Visiting my grandparents’ house was always something to look forward to.
But Christmas time was even more special. My grandmother and grandfather (who we called Papa) would cook various treats that they would keep in blue and white tins. Papa made these chocolate covered peanut butter cookies that would knock your socks off. A tree would be put up in the living room, and me, my brother and my mom would decorate it every year. My favorite decoration was this Santa Claus nutcracker.
Christmas day my uncle and aunt would arrive. My uncle, who at six feet tall is easily the tallest member of my immediate family, would scoop me and my brother up, one in each arm. We would settle down in front of the fireplace, with my twin and I in matching green chairs, and begin opening presents from youngest to oldest.
Whenever the gift opening was over, I would take the LEGO set I was invariably given each year and scramble to the pool table in the game room, which was the best place to open the box full of tiny plastic pieces and swiftly arrange them in the proper order.
I’ll never forget those early Christmas days at my grandparent’s house. Times change, however, and both of my grandparents passed away before I graduated high school. Now, my family has our own tradition.
My dad always buys a real Christmas tree, which my mom waters with knock-off Sprite to keep it green longer (it really does work well). On Christmas Day, my little brother will wake me up (I used to get up before 7 every Christmas, but now that I’m in college, I value sleep) and get my family, sans my father, together to look through our stockings. As the years have progressed, these stocking gifts have become more and more elaborate. Then, we make monkey bread, which is basically biscuit dough covered in cinnamon sugar and baked. After the monkey bread is finished, we wake up dad, eat breakfast and open our presents youngest to oldest just like when my grandparents were still alive.
Every family does Christmas differently, and many celebrate multiple Christmases. Regardless of how you do it, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.
Note: This column appeared in the Dec. 22 edition of the Commerce Journal.