to be loved with grace


December 12th 2007 6:21 pm
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Every year since I can remember and even way before I was born, my family has always had a Christmas Eve Tradition.
Traditionally, when my grandma was alive, we always had a Smorgasboard. On Christmas Eve, she'd always put out lots of Swedish foods like herring (yuck!), Swedish cookies, lots of types, some with different jellies in the center, olives (yuck!-only on pizza for me), ham, potato salad, regular salads too. Oh, and homemade Swedish sausage. She actually would go to a special place to find the skins and carefully mix up her own recipe and grind it up in one of those old fashioned hand grinders that hooked onto the cutting board that pulled out from many of the old kitchens that used to have cutting boards that pulled out and would grind up the sausage and then stuff carefully push the raw sausage meat into the very long skins and would then bake the sausage. (its very different than breakfast sausage and tasted very different too way much better). There were many homemade breads but at the time I didn't like potato salad (when I was younger) so I would always make a sandwich from the homemade ham. There were many condiments too. The simple ones that I liked were just mustard and mayonaise. There was also cranberry sauce (which I never liked) but what I did like were her homemade gingerbread cookies. I think it took her about a week to make everything for Christmas Eve.

After we ate. we always would sit in the den at my mom's house and would sit around and open up Christmas presents from the relatives. The one's from Santa (Mom & Dad) were always opened on Christmas morning. So on Christmas Eve, we usually opened up presents from the Grandmas & Grandpas, Aunts & Uncles, cousins and friends. We always tried to make it last as long as possible. It usually lasted, sometimes up to 3 hours because first everybody would get one present from someone and keep it on their lap and then we would go around in a circle. One person would start and everybody would wait and watch the first person open up their gift and go ooooohhh and aaaahhh and that person would get up and and go kiss and hug and say thankyou to the person who gave the gift and show it to everyone too. Then the next person would take their turn and open up their gift and so on and so on. Not every though (the grown ups) would alway have the same number on gifts however because there were ALWAYS more gifts for the children than for the adults.

The great-great grandmas, great-great grandpas & great grandmas & great grandpas are gone now and now I am the grandma (although I feel in my mind very young and actually am very young to b e a grandma and so does my husband)

The tradition still continues however. Only now we have ready made sandwiches, chips and dips but still have hot cocoa though but still have the basic Holiday tradition. We first have our dinner, then we all sit around in a circle and everyone has a gift on their lap. However, I don't think it lasts 3 hours anymore. But we open the gifts from our aunts, sister and brother-in-law, cousins and friends. Only I'm really excited about this year because now we have three grandchildren!! Lovely Mariah is 11 going on 12, lively Josiah (who's very smart but so is Mariah) who i 5 and now we have a new member of the family, baby Hannah, who is growing so quickly (I wish I knew how to get to their home but I'm also afraid to drive it alone). I'm hoping, that for one evening, we can just all get along and celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus, and exchange gifts like a normal and loving family. After all many people say "that Christmas is for the children" (and why should the children have to suffer if some people don't see eye to eye) I've always said I just want everybody to be happy and healthy. We do have a great grandpa still left whos going to be here too. (God forbid, but what if its his last Christmas with us?--why should the children be deneid a Christmas with their great grandpa? He loves them ALL so much!!) Plus, its baby Hannah's first Christmas. Is hatred and animosity something that shows her what the Holidays are all about? My wish is that all of us can be together like the Chistmases me and my family are used to having. My son was lucky enough to know his great-grandmas & grandma & grandpa but it was too late for my daughter and her younger brother to know them. My husband and I have many health problems that we don't discuss with everyone. God forbid one of us is not here next year, all because of a disagreement. In my opinion, the children should always come first.

We have a fine tree with many gifts for everyone and we'd very much enjoy watching our grandchildren getting excited and opening the gifts. We love them very much and wish they would come over more often. As we have health problems, as our parents did, when we were younger it was always easier on them if the younger people (us) came over and visited our folks, the grandparents. We wish it was the same now.

The day of Christmas, we ALL usually have a Honey Baked Ham and again, wish the children and grandchildren would come over and celebrate Christmas Day with us. We usually make cheese scaloped potatoes a vegetable and pumpkin and apple pie with cool whip or vanilla ice cream. We never eat late on Christmas. About 3:30-4.

I don't expect a Christmas gift. All I want is to enjoy my grandchildren at Christmastime. I think they would like it too, if given a choice. PEACE, LOVE & JOY


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