It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Every Christmas Eve at around 5pm, my Mom, Dad, and I would make our way through town, over the Neuse River Bridge, and down the street to Granny and Granddaddy’s house. I knew when we arrived there would be collards cooking, many beautiful aromas in the air, my cousins playing football in the quiet street, my uncles watching TV, and my aunts laughing in the kitchen as they put the finishing touches on the meal.
Shortly after arriving, someone would pray over the food. (We always voted for the uncle with the shortest prayer. ~smile~) Then, we would dig into the grub with reckless abandon. After finishing our meal, my cousins and I would head into the den to look at the gifts… and wait – it was torture! Do we really have to wait until the kitchen is clean to open gifts?!?!?!?!?
Finally, the women would emerge from the kitchen, the men would turn off the TV, and someone would be designated to read the book of Luke, chapter 2 – the story of the birth of Christ. After we were all reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, the adults would kneel down to pray and everyone would pray out loud at once. It seemed like the longest prayer time of the year (I’ll bet they prayed for an entire five minutes)! And, oh, how my grandma could cry in prayer before her knees ever hit the floor will never cease to amaze me! ~smile~
Then, the moment would finally arrive!
Ready? Set? Rip those packages open!
Snow and Gags
No Christmas Eve was ever as memorable as that of 1989 for two reasons: we had the biggest Eastern North Carolina snowfall of my lifetime lying on the ground and, second, we welcomed “Shermie” into the fold. ~smile~
When my mom and aunt were shopping one day, they ran across a bald cabbage-patch-kid named Sherman Spencer. My dad also sports a stylish bald look, and his middle name happens to be Sherman. So, this doll seemed like the perfect haha Christmas Eve moment.
He opened his “gift,” the adults were amused, and that was that, right? Well, not exactly. Shermie turned out to be much more than just a gag gift for my dad. Thanks to my Mom’s superior puppeteer abilities, she turned Shermie into a personified, interactive toy and he became our comic relief. Shermie entertained my friends. Shermie made road trips fun. Shermie became a member of the family. Shermie, and his silliness, helped my family connect with each other.
So much of my childhood have fingerprints on it by a simple doll my Mom and Dad were silly enough to bring to life. Like a photo album, he represents so many memories. If the house were on fire, I would definitely grab him!
What is your favorite Christmas Eve memory? Did you ever receive a gift that was so precious to you it became a part of you?
Shermie was not intended to be a heart-warming gift, but he certainly turned out to be. Shermie still resides at my parents’ house; but, when I come home to visit, it warms my heart to see him sitting there on the bed in my old bedroom.
When your babies come along, allow yourself to be a little silly – even if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Make their toys come to life. Do voices! Show them they are loved by taking the time to engage with them on their level. Maybe there will be a Shermie in your home – a simple toy that will comfort your children for life because it reminds them of you and your love. ~smile~
Merry Christmas, everyone!!!
What is your fondest Christmas Eve memory?