Even as we all get older, my father, brothers, sisters and myself have been able to keep one traditional event going: the family Christmas party. Most years, the ones attending were those who lived on or fairly close to the East Coast, so that usually included seven of us in all. Not too bad for a family of 10.
Now this year’s party included eight of us kids as Kevin and his wife Andrea were able to make it back from Oklahoma, making a normally joyous occasion extra special.
For many years, this party had been held in Manchester, New Hampshire at my sister Linda’s(and her husband Doug’s) house but because my father now lives in a senior living home, it was decided that we’d bring the party to him. And it was a blast!
Like always, food was a priority, starting with a wide number of appetizers, among them cheese and crackers and veggies and dip. The main course for this years’ bash was pizza ranging from cheese to others with toppings including mushroom and sausage, pepperoni and more. Needless to say, we all ate very, very well on this day.
One part of last Saturdays’ party that reminded me the most of Christmas day as a kid was when dad and the rest of us sat in a near-circle as my nephew, Max, playing the part of Santa Claus, handed out gifts. Year after year way back when, it was dad who would hand out all of our gifts after we had attended the 7A.M. Mass at St. Francis Church.
The other part that had me thinking of Christmas’ past was how we opened our gifts one at a time once they had all been handed out so that everyone could see the initial reactions of people opening their presents, just the way we had done it as children. I’ve got to admit that it was at these times that I got a lump in my throat thinking of our late mother, Ethel Riley, a great woman who, I’m sure, is proud as hell of all of us.
It was also great to catch up with everybody, laugh often and cherish our time with one another. Christmas will be here one week from today and Ann, Eric and I will have a great day, but the fact that this last party reminded me so much of my childhood made it a no-brainer to use as the subject of this blog. Merry Christmas!!