Thursday, December 23, 2010

Memories of Christmas' Past

My parents arrive this evening from Michigan to celebrate Christmas with us! This means, of course, that I may not post for a few days, so I want to take a quick second to welcome the newest followers and I hope you'll all wander back here after Christmas. I will be posting again next week. (maybe before, you never know!)
When I think of Christmas, a few memories come to mind from over the years.

Christmas when I was young, was usually spent at my Dad's parent's house in East Lansing, only a few minutes drive from our house. The whole family would get together, so we'd have about 19 people in all and 9 of us were young, running around, playing games, jumping in the piles of wrapping paper and the eight of us girls would torment (lovingly) our only boy cousin, who has the misfortune of also being the youngest. I wish I had a picture of the chaos to share. I really need to digitize some of them. Just imagine a big family gathering around a couch with a camera on timer to take a big family photo. Fun stuff.

Some years we actually drove to New Jersey to visit my Mom's parents. That would be 12 hours, in the van. When we were really little my parents would put my sister and me in the van still in our pj's and hope we'd sleep. We knew the mountains of Pennsylvania well. Typically just before we hit Philly my sister and I would be going stir crazy and start singing carols. This could last until we arrived at our Grandparent's driveway. I loved visiting them because it was so different than Michigan. They had interesting neighbors and a big yard. My Grandma would always have a bowl of Hershey kisses in the dining room. My Grandpa always wore the same outfit each day: dark blue work pants and usually, a dark dark blue button down work shirt. Every time we visited he would measure how tall my sister and I were on these sticks of wood he had up against a wall in the basement. His favorite cereal was Sugar Smacks (do they even make that still?) and there was always an Entenmann's coffee cake in the kitchen.

One year we spent Christmas in Key West with my mom's family, staying at a condo. I remember my uncle swinging into a big pond filled with fish from a rope. My sister made a 'Christmas tree' using Christmas lights on the wall. We got Cabbage Patch Dolls with 'real' hair that year.

Another year we spent the holiday at Disney World with my Dad's extended family. All 19 of us! It was the same year we got our new van, picking it up one night and leaving the next day to drive all the way down to Orlando. It was cold at Disney that year and we were glad to have our winter coats with us! It was a little odd celebrating Christmas at a hotel, but it was fun none the less and I am very grateful that our Grandparents took all of us there!

My great-grandma, Mimi, as we called her, would always give us M&M candy canes. You know, those big plastic candy canes filled with M&M's? We can't find them anymore.

The first year I lived out here I missed my connection flight on Christmas Eve in Detroit so my Mom drove to the airport to pick me up and we went straight to Church. This was the last time I took a connecting flight to Lansing. Of course, my luggage didn't get off the plane and I didn't get it until two days later. Unfortunately I was meeting Woody's extended family for the first time on Christmas day. Good thing one of my gifts was a sweater!

We spent one year with Woody's family in Florida. It was the first time I had ever been to a midnight Mass and we had a real Polish Christmas dinner. I have to admit, it was really weird to see green grass and no snow. I definitely prefer a white Christmas, but it was wonderful to be with his Mom, brother and Grandparents. We are excited to visit them in January!

Last year we spent a very cold Christmas in Minnesota, but it was nice to have the family together! It was also fun to see my nephew really enjoying Christmas and all the wrapping paper.

We've celebrated in New York a few times, I even tried cooking a somewhat Polish meal for Woody once, but this is our first time hosting anyone for Christmas. I have been to multiple grocery stores picking up all sorts of items (this is one time when a car would really be useful) and I hope I have thought of everything. I hope my parents have a great time, that we all do. It will be fun to show them around our new neighborhood and hopefully we'll get a little snow while they're here to really make it special!

Today I'll leave you with our Christmas tree!

What are some of your favorite holiday memories?
today's workout -
50min/5.75mi elliptical
3x12 straight arm raise
3x40sec planks


Morgan said...

Love the flashback to holidays past. I remember driving TO Lansing to check out all the Christmas Lights! :) Have a wonderful holiday with your parents girl!!!

Tropical Eats said...

aw that is so fun you got to have a Disney christmas!!! loved reading about your traditions and memories :)

my favorite christmas was in georgia with the fam a few years back. We rented a cabin for a few days instead of buying presents and just spend the days relaxing and enjoying the simple things.

Happy holidays!!!

Grace said...

Yours Christmases sound like they are in the movies- a lot of people and a lot of fun.

lindsay said...

your tree is cute! i hope you have a wonderful christmas celebration!