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The Christmas Eve Of Long Ago

December 25, 2020

When I was a small child, we always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve in the manner that it is observed in the Tirol, the birth place of my father. The following day, Christmas, we all had a traditional dinner together. However, it is always Christmas Eve that rests in my mind as Christmas.

I remember the Christmas Eve routine very well. All three of us kids would get to bed around eight or nine in the evening. Of course we didn’t sleep a wink. We giggled in anticipation of what was to come. Then slightly right after midnight a small bell would ring indicating that Santa Claus had come and gone. We would race to the living room where the Christmas tree stood and begin our Christmas together. It started with examining the cookies we had left for the fat man. Yes, there was always enough evidence that he had indeed come; half eaten cookies with bite marks and an empty glass of milk. (I continued this tradition with my son years later.)

We always moved directly to the stockings that had been hung on the fireplace mantel the day before. They were always miraculously filled with all sorts of goodies and the three of us were pleased  as we pawed through them like a pack of lemmings. Even back then I marveled at the abundance that was afforded an often poor family. The rambunctious nature of the three of us would always give way to a quiet early morning with our parents in which we exchanged gifts. The big treat for us was that we got to stay up until well after midnight, often into the late hours of Christmas morning.

Gifts back then were more than often hand-made. I remember giving my parents all sorts of hand crafted items that I had put together, ranging from wallets to Christmas themed ceramics. For many years I would give my father a Provolone cheese that was wrapped in a series of smaller and smaller boxed as sort of a traditional gag. There was always something given that was very personal. I often accompanied my gifts with a bit of poetry or prose that I wrote myself. These were the gifts that were most appreciated. This continued well into my adulthood. Of course there were always some store bought gifts as well as kids have to be kids in the end.

I perpetuated the idea of the Tirolean Christmas throughout the years, first as a single father and later as a new husband. Our family continues the tradition to this very day. I still tend to make gifts rather than buy them. Throughout the years Christmas Eve is always Christmas to us.

Side note: We never had a traditional Tirolean  Krampus patrolling our neighborhood. I guess we were all just little angels back then. 😂

Von unserem Haus zu Ihrem – Frohe Weinachten!

Photo: My sister and brother marauding their gifts in 1957.

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5 Comments
  1. Lovely tale, Allen. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Peace on earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day.” – Quote by Helen Steiner Rice

    May you have a wonderful and beautiful Christmas with your loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

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