What a whirlwind this month has been. It has come and gone so quickly that I’ve barely had a moment to take a deep breath as I’m sure is the case for many of you, as well.

 It always makes me think back to Christmas when I was a kid. Man, we waited all year for this day to arrive and it never moved any faster. Anticipation would build and build until that special day, and we were never let down. Not by the gifts, that was always a bonus, but by the routine of our day as a family.  I loved the routine that, in turn, became tradition.

We spent almost every Christmas with my cousins, who were like my brother and sister. Christmas Eve was the big day for us. We would wake early that morning, wrap last minute gifts, and dress in our best clothes! Oh, the days of the Christmas dress AND the men even wore suits and ties! We had a very formal setup and I loved every minute of it. My cousins and I would spend the early evening dancing to Christmas music, roasting marshmallows, and watching Christmas classics. We would all eat a very formal dinner with the best china and carefully prepared foods. 

Around 8pm it was time for gifts!!! My cousins and I were bouncing off the walls, we couldn’t wait, however, we would generally spend the next 30 minutes wondering where different family members would disappear to. Does this happen in your family? It never fails, and goes like this:

“Where is Grandma?” Everyone looks around…”Went to the bathroom, oh here she comes.” (Children prepare for gifts)…”Wait, we need a trash bag,” and off goes the uncle. (Children prepare for gifts)…”Oh, I need some coffee, does anyone want coffee? I’ll make a fresh pot,” and off goes the aunt…(Children getting antsy). “Should we go ahead and have dessert with it?” Children in unison: “Nooo!” “Where did mom go, now?” (Children sit on floor shaking heads). “I’ll go look for her.” Children in unison: “Noooo!”

So, yes this went on for at least 30 minutes until finally, finally, it was present time!

 We all gathered in my aunt’s sun room and started tearing away. Shortly after my uncle would get a call, always from the same family friend, asking him to come help set up a new gift they had just received. It always seemed so wrong to me that he’d be called away like that. Why couldn’t they set up their own gift? But, each year, off he’d go. Things would slow down a bit due to the missing family member. Suddenly we’d hear some noises outside, all of us looking at each other to see if the others heard, too. Next thing you know, the one and only Santa Claus would be at the back porch door with a bag full of gifts, his trail of footprints left in the freshly fallen snow. Did I mention this was in Connecticut? Sorry southerners!

Wow! That’s all I can say. What a magical night Christmas Eve was to us.

Through the years obviously things have changed. We’ve moved around, gotten married, had children. There is no longer the formal Christmas dress or the suits with ties, no more visits from Santa on the back porch, no more long drawn out days to reach this day of magic, but there is still the love. The love of family members, memories, and traditions old and new.

To all our family members elsewhere, if you haven’t realized by now, your gifts will be late. However, we are so blessed to have y’all in our lives and we love you.

To all our friends all over the country, thank you for continuing to be a part of our lives, we are blessed to call you our friends.

To all of those who are separated from  loved ones around the world, I wish you peace and a Merry Christmas. I hope you will be reunited with loved ones soon.

As for my family here, you are my gift and I’m blessed a million times over. You fill me with love, joy, and peace (sometimes).

Merry Christmas to all…

and to all, a goodnight.


The Grooters Family