Friday, December 18, 2009

The ghosts of Christmas past

A friend of mine asked me to post my Christmas memories on a Lost board that I visit. In my head I thought ooooo good blog post too. So what do I do? I come here to post it first.

Growing up I had what I call a bipolar Christmas. By that I mean I had to go to both sides of the family. And let me just tell you they were as different as night and day.

Since my parents divorced when I was three this was every year as I grew up.

My fathers side of the family generally had their Christmas in the morning until about 2pm. So we (my brother and I) would go there first.
Now for this celebration we had to dress up in our best clothes. Which by the way was a freaking joke. Here is that side of the family in suits or fancy dresses or really nice clothes and here come my brother and I in what my mother would consider nice. Let's just say her idea and their idea of nice were completely different.
We would all sit around a perfectly decorated house with perfectly cooked food and open perfectly wrapped presents.
Then it would be time to leave and go back to what we considered the real world.
That side of the families Christmas wasn't real. It was like stepping into another dimension. We did not live that kind of life. This was not reality for us.
Yes, we enjoyed ourselves in a very no no don't touch kind of way but it was like visiting another planet.

My mother's side of the family celebrated completely different. There was nothing perfect anywhere. We could not afford perfect. Hell we couldn't afford a whole hell of a lot but we had creativity and we had love. That made all the difference in the world.
Someone would go to the food bank and get us a turkey. Or one of the neighbors would give us one. Or sometimes, although rarely, we were able to afford one for ourselves. That kitchen was busselling. All my Italian relatives would be huddled in there stirring spaghetti sauce, opening cans of green beans or just getting something ready. I remember the kitchen windows were always steamed up. And the laughter in that room was warm as well.
When it came time to eat we would all pack into the tiny kitchen bumping against each other and fighting our way to the food. And OMG the food that filled that room. No matter how crappy we ate on a normal basis the food that day was bountiful. Breads warm from the oven. Sausages. Pies. Spaghetti and meatballs. Turkey and stuffing. The damn table almost groaned from the weight of the food.
Laughter and love and food. What more could a person want?
After the meal everyone would head outside to start drinking. Of course there was snack food out there too. Beers would disappear rapidly and people would head off for a beer run now and again. The kids would be climbing the trees and being pesty but no one cared. The music would be turned on. Country to begin with switching to Rock and Roll when the drinking got serious lol.
There were many a Christmas that I would walk down a hallway only to have to step over someone who was flat out hammered. Most of the time they would grab you by the legs and tell you they loved you.
Christmas was something cherished and fun on this side of the family.

As I grew older the perceptions of Christmas at each home changed a bit. Yes my fathers side of the family was still "perfect" but through my adult eyes I saw the love that was there too.
My mothers side of the family Christmas didn't change in my eyes. Although now I could drink LMAO!!

Now I spend my Christmas with my Grandmother on my dad's side of the family. We are a little less perfect but still staid. We play board and card games. But we are together.

My mother's side... Well it seems that Christmas has died. The death started when my great grandmother passed away. The get together got a little quieter. But when my Grandma Mema passed away.... well Christmas died. There is no more get together. There is no more giant Italian Christmas dinner. There is no more laughter or fun.
I really really miss that by the way.


  1. Italian dinners are always the greatest bag of crazy fun in the world! Don't stop pouring margaritas and you can be entertained for hours at my house.

    I'm sorry you don't get them anymore. You are sooo invited to join in on one of mine. I'll even save you a plate of lasagna and a glass of wine!

  2. I always had great Christmas' as a child. Now that everyone has grown up and grown apart, it is not fun anymore!
    This is a great post!

  3. Don't even get me started on memories. BUT, you could always bring back the traditional Italian Christmas. Don't let it die out - particularly since you have such fond memories. Just think - it all starts with a pot of sauce...

  4. I left you an award today. Hugs!