When I was young, every year we had Christmas for my mom's side of the family on Christmas Eve at our house...well, mom and dad's, I just lived there because I was too young to get a job and live on my own ;)
Anyway, I can remember standing in the doorway a day or 2 before Christmas Eve waiting for my Aunt V to arrive (she lived an hour and a half away and would come and stay a few days at my mom and dad's house). As she arrived, I would greet her at the door and help her bring in her gifts and things.
The mornings she was there, I would get up and make coffee for her and my mom. I learned how to make coffee way before I even had thought of drinking it (now I'm addicted!).
On Christmas Eve, my mom would scurry around the kitchen moving canisters, the toaster, and anything else that was on the counter out of the way to make room for all the food that was there. Dad would get the leaf for the table out of the closet and put it into the table, and then get the card table out for the kids to sit at (there were only 4 of us...me, my sister, and 2 cousins).
Soon guests would arrive. And just as I had waited for my aunt to show up a day or 2 before, I would wait for them as well. My Uncle B would always have to make at least 4-5 trips to get all the loot into the house. Aunt J and Uncle T would come, but since they had 2 children, it never took them very long to get into the house. How convenient that my sister and their oldest daughter were only 2 weeks apart in age, and their son was a year older than me. Instant playmates! My Uncle B had 1 daughter, but she lived with her mom in Florida.
While the guests arrived, my dad would be carving the turkey...I always snuck out to the kitchen to grab a piece of turkey...I loved eating the skin! I was young then, I didn't know how bad eating skin was, I just knew it was GOOD!
My mom would run and get my Grandpa before the guests arrived...he didn't drive, I don't know that I ever seen him drive...ever, but I'm sure as a younger man, he did drive.
We would start by eating supper, then the kids would be shuffled into the bedrooms to get dressed for the Christmas program at the church. Then out the door! Usually it was just my Aunt J and My mom and the 4 kids...everyone else stayed at the house.
We would come home knowing that the presents would be opened soon! My Uncle B would never disappoint...he always had gifts for each of us that required batteries!! We LOVED it!
Gift opening would always go by age, meaning I ALWAYS went 1st! 1 gift at a time, round and round until we were done. Then it would be time for cleaning up and everyone to leave.
Those were great times! We still have Christmas Eve at my mom and dad's house, but things are a bit different now...My Aunt V now lives in CO, so we don't see her. We no longer exchange gifts. My Uncle T, Uncle B, and Grandpa have since passed away. There are a lot more than just 4 kids...I have 4, my sister has 4, my sister's friend (who is like my sister) has 2, my cousin (girl) has 2, and my other cousin (boy) has 3...so now there's 15 kids! Can you imagine a house full of 15 kids?? Oh, and add spouses and boyfriends to the mix as well. It can get a bit crazy!
Thank you for coming on this journey of my Christmas Past!