I really love Christmas. I always have. I always will.
My Christmas memories are many and most of our family traditions have remained and have even multiplied. I passed some great ones down from my own childhood such as the compulsory 12 dishes on Christmas Eve that is rooted in Polish tradition. This of course began with my grandmother and carried through by my own parents and now it’s up to me to keep this going…..so each December,
I make the list. Some food items suggested by grandma, and some not.
- perogies ( piroghy)
- cabbage rolls ( if my mother sends them)
- meatballs & gravy
- scalloped potatoes
- jellied salad
- sweet potatoes
- green salad
- dill pickles
- 24 hour fruit salad
Other favourable traditions are sledding followed by Mass followed by ice cream sundaes, then sibling gift exchange.
Christmas morning is a huge breakfast, followed by a clean up where all my kids seem to sneak off and go back to sleep…Then another large Christmas meal and always…games. My own family is large enough, 10 including my grand-daughter now so I am not able to celebrate too often with my own siblings. However this year was different.
I recently spent the last few weeks gearing up to give my brother the gift of life. His diagnosis of acute Leukaemia came fast and furious this fall, and after testing I was fortunate enough to be his match. Several weeks later, I have now donated my stem cells to him and he is now hopefully on the other side of recovery. Though it will be many months before he will be up to speed, and indeed may be even a year or so, he is so grateful. It is rather humbling to put Christmas and that gift- giving into perspective.
Now I’ll just watch others relish in their gift giving and more accurately receiving, but to me nothing compares with the sharing of life and the opportunity to bond with someone that has shared the memories of my grandmother’s poppy seed bread, childhood nicknames, of times dragging him to the library, our siblings walks, our summer travels, and notes left for one another on the kitchen table. His gratitude is overwhelming and I find it difficult to accept. Who wouldn’t save someone they love? It was nothing and everything all rolled into one.
Back home now-What waits for me under the tree?
It matters not. I’ve had THE Christmas to remember.