Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ready for Christmas

I remember my mother's collection of Christmas music boxes. My favorite was a ceramic house with a tiny ceramic Santa that would pop in and out of the chimney. I loved putting my finger on his little hat, hearing my Mom's voice saying lovingly but firmly, "Donnnnn't break it, Katy Callie!"

Christmas at the Callie house. For years, we invited the Finn and Kniaz families over to our house on Christmas Eve. Both of them were big families like ours, and the house was filled to the brim with people. Mom would make enough manicotti for an army. We all knew not to mess with her that day while she was cooking! I always felt so excited for this party; I loved dressing up and eating and hearing everyone talk. For years I felt too old to play with the little kids and too young to hobnob with the adults, so I just kind of floated around, listening in on conversations. I always wanted to join in, but never knew what to say. But that was okay. I've always enjoyed being along around large groups of people, listening intently to all their stories.

On Christmas Day, my family would gather around the nativity in the foyer while my Dad, a staunch Catholic, read bible verses aloud. Then we would spend hours opening gifts, drinking coffee, and enjoying each others company. We'd go to church, then open our stockings. We would play with our new toys. Then we would go over to the Finn's house for an early dinner.

Warm, sugar-coated days and nights spent with family and friends.

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