Dear Readers, lets take a walk down memory lane.
During this season of giving, receiving, cooking, shopping and decking the halls, different generations will gather under the warmth, smells and sparkle of the holiday season. People are enthralled with the delight and charm of this magical time of the year. Homes are buzzing with family and friends arriving from near and far, and at grandma’s house there will be stories of old and new to share. All eyes will be on the news babies, and the amazement of the little tots who have sprouted up an inch or two. During this time of year the emotional bond deepens as new memories are made, and some recipes are passed from one generation to the next.
I often think back to my childhood Christmases the anticipation of my father and brothers arriving with a fresh pine smelling tree. The arrival of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors to help trim the tree, while we ate delicious home baked treats, and indulged in my father home made fruit punch made with real fruit, laughing and singing Christmas carols. In those days the excitement wasn’t about gifts the importance of the season was about the unity of family and connecting with neighbors. I remember my father piling us in that old blue station wagon, and riding through different neighborhoods admiring the elaborate decorations. When we returned home my mother would be waiting with hot chocolate and a fresh biscuits.
Christmas day was one of those rare occasions when everyone keep on their pajamas, while unwrapping gifts and eating breakfast. There was no rush to leave the house. Christmas day was a day for family to stay home. My dad would read the story of the three Magi followed by watching the parade. Since we lived in a four story brownstone we hosted the family dinner on Christmas day. The house was filled with fun, food, laugher, and people coming and going. The celebration would last deep into the night with the adults lingering in the dining room, while the children settle in the living room either asleep or watching Christmas movies.
I truly miss the joy and simplicity of those days. I think the holidays have been destroyed by commercialism, greed and the deal of black Friday. People give because they expect to receive. Even after the 12 days of Christmas have faded people only talk about the material gain, and not about the family gatherings. I have decided that I will take back my way of celebrating the holidays by honoring my father’s tradition of having a live tree and my mother’s touch by backing cleaning and decorating the house. I will prepare feast on a small scale, stock up on wine, brandy and egg nog. My door is open to all who truly desire to celebrate both Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa by just sitting back enjoying a meal, good spirits and the time to slow down and connect.