5 Christmas Things I Loved As A Kid
Christmas traditions in the Falcon household included the rotating colored light, putting your slippers under the tree (Santa would put your slippers on top of your gifts so that you wouldn't get your presents confused with your brother's), leaving cookies and milk for Santa, and a big pot of gumbo on Christmas Eve!! There are many things that I miss about being a kid at Christmas, and here are the top 5:
Looking back, I now realize that "the grown-ups" were right: being in school were the best years in life. No rent, no work, no bills, just going to school and playing. Period. Life was so simple (in retrospect). At the time, we HATED being in school, right?? We COULDN'T WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS BREAK!! I can remember counting down the days, bringing treats to school for the Christmas party, and getting on the bus with a little bag of leftover treats, SO HAPPY to have finished school for the year. We used to walk around saying "see you next year" to everyone, tickled with the fact that when we saw them again, it would be the next calendar year. Things were so simple back then, huh?
I know that Abbeville still decorates the city for Christmas, probably even more now than when I was a kid. But, as a kid, everything is much LARGER, or GRANDER in scale. If I remember right, when I was growing up, the city would decorate Magdalen Square and they would put the decorations on the utility poles on the main thoroughfares in town. Now, most of the businesses in the downtown area participate (with white lights!), making my hometown come alive with Christmas! The white lights in the oak trees around the square and courthouse and in front of the 'big' church are just beautiful. If you haven't included Abbeville in your Christmas Light adventures, please take an evening to drive through there (don't forget to stop at Shuck's or Richard's for dinner!!).
I don't remember having an aluminum Christmas tree, but I do remember having the rotating light! We would set it up to shine on our Christmas tree, and I can remember it casting the 'colored' shadow onto the wall in our den. Mom had hung white curtains in there, so (in my brain) our den looked like Times Square! It was such a simple machine, that rotating colored Christmas light, but the Christmas decorating wasn't complete until you could hear the "whirrrr" of that wheel!!
All of the food at Christmastime was pretty good (I hear that my sister makes THE BEST potato salad, but I can't even stand the smell.... I eat everything that's IN potato salad, but I can't eat potato salad. Strange!), but my Mom's sister, Rose (easily described as my Mom's craziest sister), would make an incredible rice dressing. It was SO good and SO loved by everyone in the family that it was actually mentioned in her eulogy. I don't know how she made that rice dressing, but as soon as I put a bite in my mouth, I would say "THIS is home!!". We miss that rice dressing, but not nearly as much as we miss Aunt Rose.
New Year's Day was a holiday we always spent with my Dad's side of the family (in the Scott area), but Christmas was always spent with Mom's side of the family in Abbeville. Since there were 8 kids in our family, we had the largest house of our relatives, so it was much easier to accommodate my Mom's 10 brother and sisters! I know that these names won't mean much to you, but having Randall, Lil' Jay, Ginger, Tommy, Raynell, Boogie and the rest of my cousins in the house meant that you WOULD be laughing at something that night! Mom would always cook a LOT of gumbo (I think that one year we had over 90 people cycle through the house!!). This was one time of the year that we actually had soft drinks in the house, and we could have as many as we wanted! After the guests left for the night, Mom and Dad would run us off to bed (we MUST be sleeping for Santa to pass!!), after putting out the cookies and milk and out slippers, and then they would stay up for a while to "clean up" so that it would be easier for Santa to maneuver his way into the house. I think that getting together with my cousins is what I miss most about "Christmas Past". Of course, all my cousins are grown up now (I'm not too sure about Randall, I think that he is stuck somewhere around 17), they have their own families, and I hope that they are making traditions for their children that will be remembered, fondly, for the rest of their lives.