I often think about holiday time and family, especially back when I was a kid. We all know that as we get older, the holidays are a completely different experience. When you’re a kid the only thing that matters is fun, gifts and spending it with your cousins and extended family.
Youth has a way of making everything seem simple and joyful. I am sure some of it has to do with our innocence and of course our unwavering belief in Santa Claus coming to bring presents every year.
Holidays were always something that I look forward to, especially Christmas time.
Fun with cousins
Thinking back to being a kid at the holidays, I have the absolute best memories. The fun we used to have. OH BOY!
Everybody got together and spent at least a few days together. All day long! Funny enough, it never seemed to be too much. Maybe it is our perspective when we are young, that getting together with our cousins, aunts, uncle, and grandparents was the absolute best part of being a kid.
In our family we would get together with each side of my mom and dad’s family every other year. When it came to my dad’s side of the family, those times are some of the happiest memories of my childhood Christmas.
The best part of my dad’s family was that him and my uncle each had 3 kids. We were all around the same age, so the 6 of us were super close. We called ourselves “The Original Six”. Simply due to the fact, that my dad and my uncle Terry were older than their other siblings, so for the longest time, we were the only grand kids.
I remember all 6 of us cousins in sleeping bags all over the house. Of course, we never got beds, because all the adults had them filled up, but we didn’t care. As long as we could all sleep close to each other, we were happy.
Of course, I say sleep, but the reality was we would lay there all night constantly checking the time. Always wanting to know if it was time to get up yet. We were not allowed to get up before 6 am, so we would watch the clock hour by hour hoping it would soon be 6 am.
Once we were allowed to get up, the chaos would ensue. It was loud, with people everywhere and of course the wrapping paper flying around. Just complete joyfulness!!!
Games with Grandma
Our Christmas holidays were always about sitting around the table playing cards or the latest game. It didn’t matter how many people there were, we managed to fit everyone at the table that wanted to play.
My grandma Marge was always the ring leader of the table. She was the best!! Every kid wanted to be a part of playing cards with grandma. There was just something so fun about learning a new game or getting to play an old one.
One of my favourite games was a game she called the 75-cent game. I am sure that isn’t actually the name of the game, but whatever it is, it was the best. What kid doesn’t want to play a game with money. HAHA!
We played many games like “Screw your neighbor”, “Hearts”, “Rummy” and of course many more. My grandma was the queen of cards. She had this magic of knowing the rules to pretty much any card game you could throw at her.
The one thing about playing cards with my grandma was, she wanted things to keep moving. You couldn’t take your time when it came to your turn. She expected a good flow to the game.
One of her favourite sayings was “a card laid is a card played.” So, if you discarded the wrong card, it was not acceptable to change the card once it was put down. In her mind, you needed to pay more attention to what you were doing. NO DO OVERS!
Grandma would sit there drinking her rye and water cocktail while us kids would be pounding back the pop. Of course, there were also some delicious food kicking around the table as well. Everyone brought some sort of goodies to the party. Such fabulous memories!
Best Christmas gifts ever
It isn’t hard for me to think about some of my favourite Christmas gifts I got when I was a kid. My sister Carey and I were always so close, that we would often get gifts together that we would share.
The best gift I remember we got together was our Barbie house. Now this Barbie house was not just a regular Barbie house……. NOPE! Our house was a huge 2-storey that had a powered elevator that went from one floor to the next. YES, you heard me right, it had an elevator!
I still remember walking out of my bedroom and seeing it sitting there under the tree. It obviously wasn’t wrapped, but my reaction was utter surprise. Carey would say that my face was the classic Coralie Christmas face. I would put both of my hands to the sides of my head and have the biggest look of shock on my face. Apparently, I did this often!! LOL!
My second favourite shared gift with Carey, was when my parents got us our very own portable 8 track player. I know you are probably wondering what the heck is an 8-track player. Well, in the 70s it was a hard tape case with fit in that you pushed into the machine and that is how we listened to music, besides records of course. 8-tracks were our way of listening to music in a portable scenario. Sounds crazy I know!!
To go along with the machine, we also got the latest ABBA tape Voulez-Vous. God we both loved ABBA so much. We were both over the moon! Both of these memories are things that I don’t have to think hard to remember. Truly such wonderful memories of being a kid at Christmas.
Christmas as an adult
Growing up and becoming an adult, obviously changes our idea of Christmas, simply because we aren’t kids anymore.
I think that the older you get, the less time you spend outside your own immediate family simply because your circle has inevitably gotten larger. Not to mention that family members don’t all live close together anymore. Gone are the days when dad packs you in the car and you hit the road. Now it’s planes, trains and automobiles!!!!
The biggest difference with Christmas now compared to when I was a kid, is the lack of family get togethers. I know that sure has been the case for my family. With my sister halfway across the country and my brother 5 hours away, it is so much harder to get together. The last time my entire immediate family actually got together was 15 years ago in 2005. Isn’t that crazy?
We no longer get together as a group, everyone has their own families now and sadly the days of us all in a house together are long gone. I know for me I often think about time and how much I really miss it. If you had told me when I was a kid about how my Christmas looks now, I wouldn’t have believed you. I thought that family was family, and we would always come together for Christmas. Obviously, that isn’t what happened and ultimately that’s life right. Things change and you can’t stop it.
Even though the holidays are not the same, I still love Christmas time, and look forward to it every year. There is still something magical about creating new memories and yet still remembering how it used to be. The sparkly lights and good food are always something that is fun to be a part of.
My grandma has since passed away, and even though she isn’t here anymore, I think about her all time. Those Christmas memories with her and my entire family are something that I will always remember. Nothing wipes out those memories!
The morale of the story………. Remember your past and embrace the future. If 2020 has taught us anything about life, is it is not always guaranteed. This Christmas season will obviously be the strangest Christmas that any of us will ever remember, but I’m sure in the future we will be able to look back at it and think of a memory from this Christmas that brings us joy.