“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ”
— Burton Hillis
If my mom missed us on Christmas Eve, she never said so. We were over at my dad’s having an uproariously good time which I will tell you about. My mom stayed home alone on Christmas Eve and wrapped our gifts. She always built a fire in the fireplace for us to come home to. And made popcorn for us in a big wooden bowl with matching little bowls and hot chocolate. We all got to open a gift from her that night and we always knew what it would be: our new jammies.
We loved coming home on Christmas Eve to our cozy house and Mom. She loved Christmas and the whole biblical history of the night. Our crèche was out by the fireplace, our tree was decked out beautifully, a real one despite my mom’s allergies.
We would hug and all tell our story of being at dad’s and show mom our presents. She would exclaim over each one. Then we would open our Christmas Eve present from her and rush to put them on. We would all sit together by the fire and drink cocoa and mom would read the bible, about the very first Christmas. We would huddle together and drink in the warmth of the fire, hot chocolate and love. There weren’t any other presents around the three, for Santa hadn’t come yet.
Soon we’d say our good nights, hugs and kisses and go to bed. Mom stayed downstairs for a while. The next morning couldn’t come fast enough. We all had to wait at the top of the stairs until my grand parents arrived. They came with more presents perhaps, we couldn’t really see them, but I knew them so I’d say so! When we got the word — the four of us would charge down the stairs and into the living room for Christmas morning…It was beautiful, breath-taking.
Our stockings were stuffed and we opened them first. Santa had been generous (they were my mom’s favorite part!) And my grandparents brought more love into the house so that it was bursting with it. More gifts to spoil us with, their great smiles and laughter so that our Christmas morning overflowed with it.
Soon my grandmother left to go home to the huge turkey she had in the oven, my grandfather her always gentlemanly escort by her side. Later that day would be Christmas dinner with our wonderful matching cousins and more merriment than the heart could hold!