It was late in the night and we all sat in front of the fireplace, cocoa in hand, I couldn’t wait for my dad to come into the room and start telling us all about his childhood Christmas story.
Every Christmas we had company stay over, we would all gather around the family room as we would end the night on Christmas Eve. Mother always cooked her favorite dish, baked chicken with vegetables.
It always became so loud at the dinner table when everyone talked over each other, excited to share stories and catch up since we all had become so busy with work and me of course school throughout the year.
The chicken and baked rolls made my stomach full, so I took a break before desert and sat and laughed with my older brother as he talked to me and encouraged me to stay in school and keep up with my grades. It was always fun to see him. Joe would always bring something back for me and my younger brother Isaac when he came home to visit from college.
Joe told us about all the things he would do for fun up in college. Dad always stood so proudly and listened to Joe and agreed each time about how I should stay dedicated to school. Isaac of course was much younger and played with the gift Joe brought back for him the whole time not really interested at all about our conversation .
As the night passed, everyone finished up and helped mom clear the dinner table. We always cleaned the kitchen and washed the dishes so it would be ready for breakfast time. After that we all worked our way to the family room and sat with throw blankets ready for the Christmas story.
Dad walked in and made sure everyone was warm and cozy. I was so happy to have cocoa it made me feel all grown up since I couldn’t have coffee like the others. Mom always made sure we were well taken care of, having pastries and popcorn ready for us all as we settled down.
Dad sat in his big lounge chair and spoke of things I could only imagine in my mind. He talked of one cold Christmas Eve night, when his parents set out to walk door to door in a very poor neighborhood handing out gifts to everyone. They would go to several shelters as well including a children’s shelter.
Dad was always so proud of his parent’s hard work in helping the underprivileged. Year round my grandfather helped and donated his time to volunteer in children’s homes, reading to them and tutoring as much as he could. My father picked up on that trait and he now took time to take us to enrich the lives of others as well.
He went on to tell us about how he would hand out gifts to the children and families in the shelter as a child. How he wanted to take everyone home for the wonderful dinner that awaited him but knew he couldn’t. As he walked towards the door one Christmas, he handed the last gift out to a very beautiful young girl.
She was new to the shelter and he couldn’t help but wonder why she was alone without parents. She was so pretty and looked so grateful for the gift. He wished he could give her more, but he knew this was a blessing for her.
Everyday there after he begged his father to take him back to read with this young girl. They kept in contact and later formed a relationship. That young girl would end up being my mother. I always loved to hear the story again and again.
It only made me aware of how lucky I was to have parents that loved me, and took such great care of me. My mother didn’t always have it good but my father fell in love with her on Christmas Eve as a child and because of the wonderful heart my grandfather had in the gift of giving to the shelters we are now a family.
Christmas is our favorite season. After Dad finished telling his Christmas story we all fell fast asleep to Christmas music playing and the comfort of our warm and cozy home, full of love.