One of my favorite Christmas memories are contained within the four walls of my Gram’s house. Each year the Searles family gathered at Gram and Aunt Nancy’s for a Christmas “breakfast” like no other. The aroma of turkey, ham, homemade stuffing, rolls, and assorted other foods filled the house and met ones nose before even opening the door to enter.
Christmas morning always started with a full Christmas “dinner”. Gram believed family came first, not gifts. No one ever complained and the only reason anyone went to the tree before they fixed their plate, was to hide one last gift for Gram or my aunt without them knowing. I remember watching from my parent’s kitchen window for my aunt’s bedroom light to turn on. Once the light was on, the nagging began. (Yes, I nagged my parents on Christmas morning.) I enjoyed being the first one at the house so I could help my Aunt Nancy wake the house from its slumber with each flip of the switch.
There was a friendly, neighborly rivalry between my Gram and Mr. and Mrs. Leishman. The first half was “Who will have their lights up and on first following Thanksgiving?” and the second part, “Who’s lamppost and house would shine the brightest?” It was a common joke that brought both laughter and good cheer to everyone directly involved and those blessed to enjoy the majesty of lights. Thankfully it never got as out of control as some of the newer movies highlight.
Back to Christmas morning: Usually within minutes of having the last of the lights on and the turkey coming out of the oven, the cars start to pull in the driveway. With the darkness gone, so was the silence. The din of children sharing and proclaiming their gifts along with the adults discussing what time they went to bed. (Why weren’t they in bed earlier? Didn’t they know they probably slowed Santa down?) Once all the food was on the table, it was time to eat.
With the first of two Christmas dinners settled in our stomachs we flood into the living room to watch Gram and Aunt Nancy open their gifts. Gram always sitting in “her” chair, Aunt Nancy on the end of the sofa, either Uncle Jim or Unc in the recliner (depending on who got in their first) and the rest scattered about. The children, well we hovered near the tree in hopes of handing the first gift.
After the final gift is exposed and shared, thanks given to each one personally – Gram shares one final “Merry Christmas” before sending us all home to enjoy our gifts, nap, and shower and prepare for the next dinner. I could have stayed there all day yet I knew in a few short hours we would all be together again.
Christmas morning started with a mere twenty or so – aunts, uncles, and cousins. Christmas night brought these same relatives along with my great aunts, great uncles, and 2nd and 3rd generation cousins together at my Aunt Kay and Uncle Buss’ home. Looking forward to sharing more tomorrow –see you then!
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323