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posted 12/23/2011 3:03:53 PM |
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As a old woman she sat quietly that morning in her rocker watching an old Christmas movie. How things changed in the 90 years she had lived. The commercials in between segments of White Christmas was a reminder of how things had changed. She could remember as a small child unwrapping the Christmas presents that had her name on them, the ones that had quietly rested under the Christmas tree for days. Her stocking hanging on the fireplace mantle waiting for Santa to come fill it with the peppermint stick, apple and orange that was always the gift from him. They, as children, didn't write letters to Santa in hopes of getting something they had seen in the general store, they knew that Santa didn't bring gifts that their own parents couldn't afford to buy.

She remembers sitting by the fireplace on Christmas morning to unwrap the presents that would be there. An outfit mom would have sewed in secret, a pair of knitted socks that mom would knit in the evening when all the household chores were done. A ragdoll she would make from scraps of material that she had put away from all the stuff she had sewed through the year. The only boughten gifts they received was a new pair of shoes that could only be worn to church on Sunday and school.

They would sit around on Christmas eve and Dad would read the bible story. Her own children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren now opened their presents on Christmas Eve and the Bible story was no longer read. They no longer knew or even cared why Christmas was being celebrated, all it meant was who got the better presents and who spent the most money. How sad the tradition that meant so much to her as a child was not carried on as her children became adults. Money was the reason, she thought to herself. Perhaps it was her fault that her children and their families were the way they were. Her husband and her had tried to give them everything they themselves went without. Maybe it was why tradition was no longer there.......Why read the bible story when there were video games and dvds to open and enjoy. Ragdolls were a thing of the past and children didn't want dolls that couldn't walk, talk and wet their pants. The stocking also had to be filled with stuff that cost a lot of money.

Going to church on Christmas morning was also gone. She remembers her daughter telling her one year there just wasn't time because there was so much that needed done before they ate dinner. Gifts had to be opened, food had to be cooked, everyone had to get dressed.......there just wasn't time. She told her daughter that she always managed to have everything ready and still make it to church. "things are different now mom" we can afford to give expensive gifts and the kids want to play with them. She remembers past Christmas, the grandkids and great grandkids went off to different parts of the house to play with their presents. She was left in the living room to sit by herself because they thought she was too old to help in the kitchen. No one to talk to, nothing to do. Today it was the same thing, she thought as she sat in an overstuffed chair that her daughter just had to have even though she thought it was ugly and very uncomfortable.

She remembers back in time when she was 6 years old. The last year granny was alive to celebrate. Granny was older than she was now, but she was still allowed in the kitchen, no that's not right, she was requested to be in the kitchen to make sure all the final touches on dinner was just right. Grandpa and Dad were in the living room with the kids and would visit as the children played on the floor in front of them.

Today the men are in the family room watching football. She could hear voices from all over the house and yet never felt lonelier than she did right now. Money has taken the place of traditions, children no longer want to spend time with adults and sadly even worse than that adults didn't want to spend time with their children. No longer did the family gather around the table after dinner to play games. Hell, sometimes the family just grab their plates and went back to doing whatever it was they were doing before dinner was served.

As she sat there, heartbroken, remembering a time when family spent the holidays together, in the same room, love taking up every inch of space, she suddenly heard a noice. As she looked down, her great granddaughter Sofie stood there with a Bible in her hand. "Granny," she said. "my friend Savanna told me about a bible story her grandma reads every year to them. Could you read it to me?" As she reached down to take the bible from Sofie and got her arranged on her lap to read, she thought... Traditions have to start somewhere, maybe they will start again today. Merry Christmas!!!

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Dec 23 @ 6:19PM  
you made me cry Ewe .. shame on you Ewe

Just kidding .. it was lovely .. I agree it takes everyone in the family to make a family .. and we try to do it all .. on Christmas eve we have a meal and my X mother n law is still part of our family and she is 88 and still makes her sweet potatoe pie and after the meal we all go down staires to the decorated basement that all the kids have decorated and they put on a Christmas musical for us then we all open gifts then we all go to church... we have one busy night.. and one night that we are all together.

Dec 23 @ 6:31PM  
Isn't it sad what Christmas has become? I mean, no, my family wasn't the type to go to church or read a Bible, but, I remember my own Grandmother (my dad's mother) saying basically the same was almost like I could hear her voice telling me this.

One thing my family has held to is that it isn't how much is spent that is the meaning of Christmas, it's the fact we are together is what counts. Anything else is a bonus.

Beautiful blog Dayna.

Dec 23 @ 7:30PM  
This is one thing, that being poor has kept solid in my family. We simply cannot afford a lot of fancy stuff. My kids always knew that if they wanted something fancy they had to get it for themselves. Christmas was about the family together, celebrating, eating, fighting, acting silly, singing songs and watching movies together.

The weeks before were spent making gifts, ornaments and candies/sweet treats for the family and friends. We never had much, but we always gave to others from what little we had.

I too remember a stocking with a few candies, maybe one small toy an orange and a big peppermint stick. I remember spearing my Orange with that big ol peppermint stick and sucking the juice up through the stick like a straw. I also got dried figs because they were a particular favorite of mine.. and my brother always got peanuts in the shell.

Books were the most expensive gifts we got for Christmas. Lots of books. Often second or third hand but who cared? They were still books.

Sigh, yeah, that's one thing I will always cherish about having grown up poor.

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