I’ve been at this Christmas thing for a while now. I grew up in a family with two sisters and two parents and I remember one pair of cowboy boots handed down to whoever fit them that year. They were polished on Christmas Eve, and morning would find them full of nuts and fruit. No one thought about the stinky feet that had been there before the fruit, or the fact that Santa Claus brought fruit and nuts for three kids with one pair of boots. My dad would crack the nuts for us and we’d eat them and oranges for breakfast while the turkey roasted. Of course, we got dolls, what girl didn’t back then, and Mom made Christmas dresses for all of us.
Then I had a family and I saw Christmas through the eyes of a parent. First a girl to dress up like the dolls I’d practiced on as a child in bows and ruffles, until she had a mind of her own about clothes (and that wasn’t long). Then I had a boy – and no idea what to do with him. There was only one male in my previous family and he worked long hours and was seldom home. I had no brothers. Luckily my husband knew all about boys, and bikes, and ball games. All the things my family never participated in. So, Christmas was saved, and the boy had gifts he would enjoy just like the girl. I still put nuts and fruit in their Christmas stockings – there were no cowboy boots.
One Christmas a few years later we added a dog – a really big dog. A huge Golden Retriever who weighted 85 lbs. in his prime and eventually sired 20 kids of his own in two different litters with his best friend. We didn’t keep the puppies. But the dog lived as the third kid in our household for 14 years – he was family. He was the Christmas gift that kept on giving.
The kids grew up and left home, the dog died. But the kids came back and brought others with them. There were new kids to spoil for Christmas and we got another dog. Christmas Eve with my husband is the same, snacks in front of the fireplace, but it’s just us and the new dog. She gets a few nibbles, too. It’s a little bit quieter than it used to be, and we can sleep in on Christmas morning, but we will see our adult children and their kids before the day is over to feast and exchange gifts. However, I think the fruit and nut tradition has gone by the way side.
Like I said, I’ve been at this Christmas thing for a while. And I think I may be getting the hang of it. Merry Christmas!