As I think about my own childhood Christmas memories at this special time of year, I enjoyed connecting with Christina Sinisi when I read about her memories and the full Christmas circle she is looking forward to with grandchildren. I’d like to welcome my author friend and guest blogger, Christina, for my December blog.
My family wasn’t exactly the sweet Normal Rockwell painting. My parents fought a lot, sometimes food was scarce, and my mother and paternal grandmother didn’t like each other much. Still, there was joy when the family gathered around a groaning table, and the grownups played cards and laughed. I remember the privileged feeling when I finally got to join in and play Rook. I also remember my sisters and the food and the candied orange slices and candy canes on our pillows.
When I married, my husband and I had some tough decisions to make. His mother might have been a native of New Orleans, but his father’s work took them to Connecticut. He had also been a late baby, so his parents were decades older than mine. My parents divorced when we got married so there was the tension between the two of them and all of my relatives’ homes center around a small town in Virginia. There was no way to spend the holidays with both sides of the family. We decided to spend Christmas with his parents until they passed and then switch to my family.
I also had the idea that, at some point, we would stay home for Christmas.
But God works in mysterious ways. His mother passed away at age 95. My children grew up knowing only Christmas at my grandma’s house—ironic that my most dear memories of childhood Christmases are reflected in my adult traditions. Every year, we went to Grandma’s house.
We still built our own traditions. Every year, we attended Christmas Eve service at the same church and signed the guest book—looking back over the years at our names also became a thing we did. Early in those years, Grandma made her specialties for Christmas dinner—Italian mushrooms and asparagus and key lime pie. Aunts and uncles gathered around the groaning table, not to play cards, but to tell family stories of the immigrant grandparents who came over through Ellis Island and lived in Hell’s Kitchen in New York.
There were things I wanted to do with my children that we didn’t get to do because of this traveling lifestyle—decorating gingerbread houses and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” every year among them. Our children did leave cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. The jolly elf somehow delivered their presents in a retirement home with no chimney and two aging people got to experience grandchildren they would have barely known shout for joy when the Lego set appeared.
I believe the deep sense of connection to family was worth any small sacrifices on my part. In the end, the meaning of Christmas is the gift of a special baby born in a manger in a town where his parents traveled away from home, who would grow up and make the ultimate sacrifice—his life for ours. Someday, I hope my life will come full circle and grandchildren will think of grandma’s house when they remember Christmas.
In the meantime, I treasure the memories of traveling over the mountains and through the woods and across the interstate—to Grandma’s house in my sweet memories.
Christina is offering a free digital copy of Christmas On Ocracoke. Simply leave a comment to enter the drawing. You can check out Christina’s blogs and books at: https://www.christinasinisi.com
Purchase link: https://amzn.to/3m1n9Dh