As a yearly tradition on Christmas Eve, our family of six aunts, three uncles, and extended family would gather at my grandparent’s house in Tennessee. At approximately 5pm members of our family would start arriving, anxious to greet the other relatives who hadn’t been seen in a year or longer. Being the one time of year the family could gather, the family remained joyous and in positive Holiday spirits.
While the adults would chat about the past year’s events, children would play Air Hockey or other toys with their cousins. At 6pm, the entire family would be called to gather in the Kitchen to say “Our Father” before the Holiday dining. All young children would sit at the Kitchen table, while the adults would dine in the elegant dining room with our Mimi and Papi (grandparents).
After dinner, relatives would begin gathering in the Living Room, which contained the ceiling-high off-White Christmas tree. In the Living Room, family members would chat to each other, while listening to Holiday music broadcast through the entertainment center. Around 10pm, the young children would gather to watch the local television channel’s late news program as it featured the popular Santa Tracker. Children’s eyes would get anxious watching the Tracker, awaiting to view a glimpse of Santa on his sleigh with his reindeer flying over the Globe. After seeing Santa and his reindeer, children would become excited as each child wondered when Santa would visit their homes with gifts. Children would begin asking their parents about the arrival of Santa, eager to go home to gifts under their own tree. Approximately one hour after the news concluded, Papi (our grandfather) would begin reciting a 30-minute Spanish Prayer while Mimita (our grandmother) and the other family members would listen attentively. At midnight, gifts would be handed out to each individual family member, as everyone celebrated the joyous occasion.
As years have passed and the family have grown older, we have celebrated the season at earlier times. While all family members still meet at 5pm, Papi now recites the Spanish Prayer shortly after dinner. Around 7pm, the presents are handed out to all family members.
Regardless of how old one may get, you are never too young for Christmas.