The winter solstice is a great time, for me it marks the moment when the days will finally become a bit longer day by day. I grew up in a Polish Catholic family in a small city called Toledo, no not in Spain, in Ohio. For me Christmas was always a special time. Unfortunately, I can count on one hand how many times I have been around my family for a real Christmas during the last ten years. I still remember it like it was yesterday though.
When I was a child it was simple. After the last Thursday in November (Thanksgiving) my parents would take the artificial Christmas tree from the attic. It was always fun putting together the color coded branches. My mom worked at a flower shop so she was always in charge of the decorations. You wouldn’t believe how many Christmas lights can be put on a tree. After the lights were on my sister and I put on the ornements. After that I would set up the train underneath the tree. As the presents gathered under the tree over the next few weeks I would have fun making tunnels and mountains out of the boxes for the train to travel through.
The 24th is just a normal day but my family would go to midnight mass after we became a bit older, nothing like forcing young children to stay up until one in the morning! So when we were little we would sleep and Santa came after midnight with presents.
On the morning of the 25th my sister and I would wake up extra early! I am sure my parents loved that considering they got home from church at 1 am! Regardless it was time to open presents then have breakfast. The rest of the day was playing with our new toys and wearing our new clothes.
In the evening we would have a big dinner, similar to the thanksgiving meal. The weekend following Christmas we always went out to the country side to my Aunt and Uncles house. This is where my dads entire side of the family went to meet. We had a feast with Polish and American food with deserts too! After that it was time for Opłatek, typical to the Polish tradition you break the bread and give your family wishes. It’s always nice and awkward, my cousins and I would always take big pieces from each other when the adults weren’t looking.
Other than that during the holiday season it was always typical to go see Santa at the mall and go to the Zoo for the “Lights before Christmas”.
Thank you for reading some of my Christmas memories. Feel free to comment below with your favorite Christmas times.