Is there anything more magical than Christmas as a kid?
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Christmases of my childhood. Ours were always very steeped in rituals and traditions. When Tyler, Tory, and I were little, the three of us spent the night before every Christmas Eve together in my brother’s bed– most likely in matching red flannel pajamas– sleeping restlessly as we waited for Santa Claus to come to our house a night early. We woke up on Christmas Eve morning (I’m sure as early as I could talk my older siblings into), and would walk out together in a line, oldest to youngest, with our eyes closed. Once reaching our living room, we would count to three and open our eyes all at the same time to MAGIC. Stockings swollen and full of surprises, unwrapped gifts set out in front of the tree in special piles for each kid. MAGIC. The grand reveal was followed by present-opening with our mom and dad, and then the five of us scarfing down an epic blueberry pancake breakfast cooked by my dad. We’d just hang out, show off our new gifts, snuggle, stay in our pj’s all day, and be together. It made me feel safe and warm and loved.
We rounded out Christmas Eve with the Vandeventer family Christmas at my Mamaw and Papaw’s, which was a nighttime celebration filled with what felt like 100 cousins, the best country comfort food known to man, and music. The music was the best part. After dinner, my uncles would pull out their guitars and we’d all gather into the basement and sing carols and hymns. It made me feel part of something way bigger than myself.
We’d leave late in the night from Mamaw and Papaw’s and head straight to my Maw Maw and Paw Paw’s, which was only about a 10 minute drive but felt like forever as a child. The three of us kids would repeat our ritual from the night before, all sleeping together again in matching pj’s in a bed upstairs at my grandparents. We’d wake up and go downstairs to Maw Maw’s HUGE tree and get to experience the magic all over again. It made me feel lucky, so very lucky.
I’ve been feeling very nostalgic for these Christmases lately. They say hindsight is 20/20, but I guess I never really got just how special it all was until I got older. All of us kids grew up, we lost many of our loved ones, and our extended families have simply grown apart. It makes me sad, but I really do fully grasp just how fortunate I was to have so much love around the holidays as a child. I really do think it’s all cyclical, too. My very special nephews and niece get to have their own traditions and rituals that hopefully they will remember forever. It’s now my mom and dad’s turn to be the larger-than-life grandparents and my brother’s, sister’s, and my turn to make the magic happen for Gram, Marina, Rhett, and Hank. And hopefully they, too, will feel just as loved and lucky and like they are a part of something much bigger than themselves.
List accomplishments as of last post:
- I did a riff on this pizza for last week’s recipe. I replaced the goat cheese with ricotta because Tim’s not so crazy about goat cheese, and I added arugula dressed in olive oil, lemon, and dijon on top for a little acidity. Super tasty.
- I watched 1970’s Best Picture winner, Patton. It was pretty good, just long. And although it takes place in WWII, there really aren’t many battle scenes, rather, the war just sort of serves as a backdrop.
- Tim and are deciding on our Christmas cards this week, AND we decided on our holiday charity. More on that soon!
- I got back into the habit of writing and taking photos every day. Here are two photos of my pups from last week: