Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Dad’s Christmas Tradition

“The light of the Christmas star to you. The warmth of home and hearth to you. The cheer and goodwill of friends to you. The hope of a child-like heart to you. The joy of a thousand angels to you. The love of the Son and God’s peace to you.”
― Sherryl Woods, An O’Brien Family Christmas

Christmas at Dad's

Christmas Eve at Dad’s was something to look forward to all year. You may wonder why he isn’t in the photo. He is probably taking it. However, Uncle Dick, his spirited brother is also AWOL. They could be recovering from their wrestling match.

Wrestling match? Now what does that have to do with Christmas, you may wonder. It’s a Baker family tradition. It was born out of the belief that Christmas is about children and giving them the best possible Christmas ever. One year, to our collective delight, my dad and Uncle Dick started rough housing right in the middle of Betty, my step mom’s impeccable decorations. We all squealed and laughed and clapped. It evolved into a wrestling match. And became a family Christmas Eve tradition. Uncle Dick usually won. When you consider he had at least a 60 pound weight advantage on Dad, was unbelievably strong and nearly 6 feet tall, my dad’s height — it’s not too surprising. But the sight of them was! They looked like two big bears rumbling around the living room. As I look back, I think their faces were red from the exertion involved in missing everything they could have hit, including their spell bound audience, and in not hurting each other! We laughed uproariously! It was so fun.

Shortly after the wrestling match, we were so wound up. Suddenly, there was the sound of sleigh bells coming from the roof. It’s Santa we all yelled! The excitement level in the room escalated. We all ran into the living room where the tree was to see that it was surrounded knee deep in presents. What lucky kids we thought, Santa visited us at our Dad’s and at our Mom’s.

On a side note. In this picture I was in 9th grade and too old to believe in Santa Clause. The babies in the picture are my darling sister Sara next to Scott on the floor, and my cousin Julie is in the back being held by my sister Suzy. Betty, the lady on the far left in beige and gold — is my lovely step mom and Sara’s mom. The lady in the red skirt is Marlys, Julie’s mom, Uncle Dick’s wife. In the back standing on the left is my wonderful Grandma Dorothy who my father says I am like, and my grandfather Pop is on the right, Dad’s dad.

What a beautiful blended family we were and we didn’t even know it!
We adjourned to a wonderful dinner, lots of conversation, and more laughter. I always love a party where wrestling matches, the entertainment of children, and general frivolity come before dinner. 🙂

We played with our gifts. We checked with Dad and Betty and Sara to make sure they liked theirs and finally said our goodbye to the Baker family Christmas. Oh, how would we wait another year? Dad drove us home. We were quiet and sleepy in the car. When my dad is happy he gets the urge to sing. He sang Mack the Knife to us, our favorite of his many renditions. What a treat! What a perfect evening!

Found! A picture of the Happy Wrestlers! Dad and Uncle Dick!

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17 thoughts on “Dad’s Christmas Tradition

  1. Denise on said:

    Oh what fun, wrestling matches, Santa, new toys, fun with family… Nothing better!

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  2. Wrestling, laughter, dinner, singing. What a wonderful and spirited tradition!

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  3. Sounds like many keepsake memories developed out of those Christmas gatherings. I’m sure you are looking for more in the next few months

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  4. “Lots of laughter”…what cherished memories you have Libby and how nicely you’ve penned them for us.

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  5. Libby,
    I always adore your writing style … it is very visual and one goes beyond imagining what it would be like to feeling like we’re a part of it. Traditions and family surrounding Christmas go hand in hand. One of my fondest memories was when the Edmonton Oilers had Wayne Gretzky battling it out with my hometown Calgary Flames. The PetroCanada gas station was freely handing out Flames stickers. I attentively cut them into circles, laced through ribbon and while everyone slept Christmas eve, I decorated my parents tree (or should say plastered) it with the Calgary Flames “ornaments” I made … to the horror, laughter and “Ill get you back” from the rest of my family who were HUGE Wayne Gretzky/Edmonton Oilers Fans. Tricks, wrestles, wishes make warm memories for sure.
    xo Jeannette

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  6. Lovely Libby what great memories you have & I love how you draw us into them! I have never been big on Christmas even as a child but I think I would have enjoyed these!!! I love ya girl!

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  7. I love that you had two wonderful Christmas’! I think I spent one Christmas, maybe two, with my dad after the age of 6. What amazing holiday memories you have! Can’t imagine two grown men wrestling, but it must’ve been quite the sight! LOL

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  8. They were wonderful! They did it for us! It was a kid’s delight! We were very lucky with our 2 Christmases and fab family. My dad is a blast. I love his humor and his singing too. We have a birthday tradition…awww that’s for another story.

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  9. Julie Baker Wicken on said:

    Yep, I can verify most of Libby’s accounts of the antics of the Baker Christmas. I was too young to remember a lot of it, but have heard the many stories throughout my life. I am one of Libby’s cousins, her Dad and my Dad were brothers.

    Liked by 1 person

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