For most of my youth, I celebrated with my family in Beaumont. We looked at our Santa gift...if it was small it came with us in the car. If it was a big present...like a bike...we got to ride it up and down the street a couple of times...then it was time to load up in the station wagon and head to Granny and Paw Paw's house. We would have just enough time to get cleaned up and family started arriving. My Granny would have her tree up in the living room...a ham warming in the oven...and a plate of sweet and dill pickles, and olives for snacking. The first change wasnt' a huge deal. Well to me it wasn't a huge deal. Instead of putting up the typical tree...7.5 feet...artificial...branches that needed fluffing...Granny chose to drape a table in a Christmas tablecloth and place her lovely ceramic tree in the center. We piled our gifts for family around the table and didn't ask any questions. Looking back...remembering that tiny tree surrounded by an avalanche of gifts...it did look silly (sorry Granny)...but it did. I know she was doing the best she could do...and this started when my grandfather began to need extra care. I'm sure with everything she had going on in her day to day life....getting the tree out of the attic and putting it up for us to enjoy for one day...was just a ridiculous waste of her precious time.
|Our tree didn't have the gold...it was glazed and had multicolor lights. |
Still it is a little small to be the main tree for HUGE family Christmas.
The next change was humongous. Every year my Aunt Sissy hosts Thanksgiving...and my Granny hosted Christmas and Easter. I wish I could remember the year...but well over 15 years ago...Christmas moved to my Aunt Maa's house. Dunh...Dunh...Dunh!!!! I think the tiny tree facilitated the conversation about changing tradition. Everything else stayed the same for a few years. The food was the same. The people were the same. We were just in a different house.
As the years drifted by other things started to change. Both of my grandparents have passed away, so for a while I was just waiting for our big extended family Christmas to disintegrate. I saw my grandparents as the glue that was holding our family together. Turns out we hold ourselves together pretty well. Things did change...we started having tamales AND ham...now sometimes we just have tamales. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a piping hot spicy tamale. Well I guess I shouldn't be too shocked, she does have a sombrero on top of her tree. Then as cousins married we started the rotation of Thanksgiving this year, Christmas the next. No problem as long as I get to see some people at each holiday I am good to go. I am lucky...never getting married means I get to celebrate both holidays with my family every year. The majority of my cousins are one one year and my brother and his family are on the other. So one year is a smallish Christmas...and the next my aunt's house is bursting at the seams.
The final change happened last year. My aunt felt bad asking children to leave toys that were barely unwrapped to come to her house for Christmas...so last year she moved our celebration to the day after Christmas. That way everyone can have their own small immediate family Christmases. The children can enjoy their gifts...once the parents untwist every twist-tie holding the toy SECURELY in place. I'm not sure what changes the future will bring, but even though our Christmas may look a little different...all the love is still present and that is all that really matters.
To the Moon and Back,