I am a loyal reader of Petite Anglaise, and her December 13 post has been resonating with me for days now. Petite is separated from the father of her young child, and in this entry, she admits struggling to make Christmas special for Tadpole, as she calls her daughter.
If you’ve read my 100 things about me, you know that my parents were divorced when I was very young. And so, I’ve been in the shoes of Tadpole–having adults around me trying to make everything seem normal when, it turns out, I suppose it wasn’t (whatever “normal” means).
So the more I’ve thought about Petite and Tadpole, the more I’ve been thinking about my own childhood Christmases–and the more I’ve felt the need to write this post.
By Christmases (plural), I mean that we had two every year. If today were 20 years ago, this might have been the morning that I woke up at my Mom’s house, opened gifts, and then prepared for our Christmas dinner, which usually included my father and his family.
That’s because one or two weeks before the big day, we had “Mom’s Christmas,” a full celebration only a little early. More than the early gifts, though, the highlight for me was the unveiling of Mom’s cookies–chocolate chips, Michigan rocks, ricotta, kolaches, butter pressed, pizzelles. Of course, some time in the weeks before, we had decorated the cut-outs, which involved a couple of my girlfriends and a slumber party.*
Man I’m missing home (and childhood) right about now.
Anyway, some of the reason behind having two Christmases was that my mom is a nurse and always worked Christmas day; on actual Christmas morning, she usually came over to my father’s house for a little while.
But I’m sure the bigger reason was that with two full holidays, nobody missed out on a family Christmas experience. In fact, as kids, we were blessed to have to double the fun.
And the best part was that all of this seemed completely normal to me even though I knew the other kids at school weren’t having the same deal (suckers!). Now, as an adult, I see that this was the plan. And it worked.
Don’t buy it? My testimonial not enough?
Take Exhibit A, then, depicting what the two Christmas set-up made my normally curmudgeonly grandfather (may he rest in peace) do to himself one year:
See, Christmas miracles do happen.
*These are not the actual recipes my Mom uses. As you can surely understand, these are top secret and under heavy guard (in my Mom’s head). I did, however, try to find some that are close to hers.