My Favorite Christmas
Back then people visited a lot during the holidays, and Mom always had cookies and bakery to serve unexpected guests. If Mom and Dad went out for the evening, she usually called to see how we were doing. I had three older brothers an older sister and a younger sister. When he was old enough, Mom left my oldest brother in charge. When she called, of course my brother told her we were being good and as a treat we were allowed to have two or three cookies. I’m not sure if Mom knew or not, but we’d take two or three from each can. More than likely she knew, but we thought we were getting away with something.
Christmas Eve we had a traditional dinner. My Uncle, Aunt, and four cousin joined us for dinner. Every year during dinner, my mom told us the story about my uncle when they were young. Our dinner began with Oplatky – very thin, white wafer type bread (think Communion wafer). It came in oblong pieces and Christmas scenes of the nativity were imprinted on it. We added a dollop of honey and ate it. The story went, when my mother and uncle were growing up, one of the siblings (there were 9 of them) stole each other’s Oplatky. So one year, my uncle decided to fool everyone. After he put his honey on it, he set it on his chair to hide it while they stood and said Grace. He sat down, looked at his plate and asked who stole his Oplatky. Of course, no one had. It took him a few minutes to remember what he did with it. He stood up sheepishly and peeled it off his pants. I don’t think we ever got tired of hearing that story and I repeated the story to my children. Eventually, it became a custom and I tell it to this day.
Christmas was more about family than gifts and we all looked forward to our Christmas Eve dinner. After the table was cleared and dishes done, we went to my Grandmother’s to visit. Sometimes my older sister and I rode with my uncle and some of my male cousins rode with my parents and brothers.
There are many other stories I can tell, but that is one of my favorite Christmases. Although some of the people are gone now, the memories will be forever in my heart.