In my mom’s family Christmas Eve was the big to do. My mom’s mom, so my Baba, would be cooking up a storm: borsht, periogis, the mushroom things that went into the borsht, the grainy sweet stuff that everyone ate first (these things all have Ukrainian names which a) I don’t know and b) if I did I wouldn’t know how to spell), etc etc etc.
I have an image of my grandmother cooking in her kitchen, in the house in Schererville all dressed up for people to come, some kind of dress, nylons, her hair done and make up on…and then on her feet…slippers. As soon as people started arriving…or maybe even when it was time to sit down she would change into her dressy heeled shoes. Why I always wondered. Wouldn’t you just want to finish getting dressed and get your normal shoes on? Note, that I hated (and still do) slippers. Anyways. her over the stove in a dress and slippers is a very strong memory I have of my grandmother. Now as memories go maybe it was just one year that she did this…I don’t know.
My grandfather would be down in the lower level (it was a split level house) entertaining the dudes and refilling drinks and whatnot.
I would be bouncing of the walls in excitement, because of course after all this nonsense the presents parade started. We did presents on Christmas Eve night there.
For a long time I was the only kid. My mom is 9 years older than her brother. I mean she had me when he was only….let me do some math in my head…19..18? Maybe? something like that. He didn’t have kids till I was like 12 or something. So for a long time it was Me and a Bunch of Older Ukrainian People. All speaking Ukrainian (which I didn’t). And I had to wear a dress. Blech. I remember being very very annoying, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Moooommmmmmmmmmmm. When can I take this dress off? After dinner? No one even cares what I’m wearing! Can’t I go put my jeans back on? Mom? Mom. MOM!” My god I want to punch little me in the face. JUST WEAR THE STUPID DRESS YOU PROBABLY LOOK REALLY CUTE.
My grandfather used to just set a video camera up and aim it at the table while we were eating dinner. What was with that? Did he go back and watch the home movies? Of people eating? Where are those videos now? Am I on them…sulking because I’m still in the stupid dress?
My mom and I would exchange our presents to each other after we got back home and we were the only two. We’d watch White Christmas usually while opening presents. Still to this day I think of my mom when that movie comes on.
So it’s Christmas Eve and now my mom lives in Florida and I won’t see her today. And I miss her.
We are forming our own new traditions here in our house. This year it’s pizza and Christmas movies with friends and family. Next year who knows! Maybe I’ll get it together and pull out the fancy china and make everyone dress up. Lucy of course will love it whereas I’ll try and dress-up some jeans to be “fancy”.
Tomorrow of course is the Big Day. We have lots of surprises for the kids and are looking forward to it. I will of course make sure Jason and I wake up at 4-5am. We watch Four Christmases before the kids wake up. Of course Jason says if we ever get divorced me setting an alarm on Christmas morning will be one of the grounds for said divorce. This year the alarm is Little Miss V of course who is waking up between 4 and 5 which is perfect.
Merry Christmas Everyone. May you holiday be filled with laughter, cheer and happiness…oh and booze…important component of any christmas celebrations.