Christmas in our house was always such an exciting time. The anticipation always began in earnest in November after Thanksgiving. First came a good snow, then choir practice for Christmas mass. It was great when we would come home from school, open the kitchen door, and smell fresh baked cookies. It was just a teaser because Mom would have hidden them. We could count on Dad to find them. He would take a sample or two. We, of course, followed suit. Two weeks before Christmas there were hardly enough to lay out for visitors. My sister and I would secretly make gifts for Mom and Dad. Christmas Eve would finally come. We would eat our evening dinner.
In the 1940's we
could not eat meat on Christmas Eve, so we always had mac and cheese. Mom
made oyster stew for Dad. Ugh!!!!!!! After dinner we would gather around
the Christmas tree and open all the personal gifts we made for each
other and all the basic things like underwear, socks, etc. Then overnight
Santa Clause came with all the things that we really wished for.
Christmas Eve I remember so well. We were all sitting around our tree
when a knock came at the back kitchen door. Dad went out to the
kitchen, turned on the back light, and there, standing on the back stoop,
were our two parish priests. In the last 6 months, they had backed out of
their garage in the back alley, demolishing our metal garbage can.
Every weekend, Dad would have to take a hammer to either the can or
its lid. It was at the point of no return. It stood in our alley, looking
like a demented lump of metal. The pastor and his assistant had a brand
new shiny metal can with a big red bow on the top.We all had a good
laugh and Christmas treats.