December 24, 2013

I remember...

There was lots of noise in the Christmases of long ago. Pinochle cards being passed. "Renege!" Trivial Pursuit and Password. The Little's gathered around Christmas videos, trying to hear above the clamor of competition and laughter, and stories. There were big - super sized - bowls of potato salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad, white rice, adobo. Always cookies, candy, Pepsi.

Someone new just arrived! Loud shouts of "HEY! It's Gina!" or "HEY! It's Uncle Gords!" or "HEY! Laura's here!"

"Merry Christmas! Mele Kalikimaka!"

Hugs all around and "Puh thing!" which meant, "you're special, we're glad to see you, you look nice, we're proud of you" all in one. If there was a baby, he or she was passed around and kissed and tickled and fed.

"It's 11:30! C'mon you guys. Quiet down!"

When Grandpa was alive there were songs on his guitar or his ukulele.

We squished ourselves on the couch, cousins on the floor leaning on one another; uncles stood in the back with a Pepsi ready to duck out for a cigarette. Someone would be appointed the reading...The Christmas story from Luke 2 and then carols sung. What a joyful noise, a happy sound. Finally, it's midnight. We belt out the tune Mele Kalikimaka, followed by a gentler "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. Someone prays. We are Thankful to God.

The quiet starts to pick up to a low din. Time to get up and stretch, grab a piece of fudge or a bite of chicken and rice. "Oldest to youngest or youngest to oldest?!" someone shouts.

It's decided - youngest to oldest. The baby is first. One by one we all open a gift. No one is left out. There are ooh's and aah's over each one, with the unspoken goal of every giver to make the recipient cry. Tears bring a chorus of "Puh thing!" from every auntie and uncle. We could count on at least one person, if not several, opening a Green Bay Packer this or that.

Those were the days, the Christmases of long ago.

It's different now. A Glariada Christmas is a mother's memory to my children. They don't know the comfort of those precious times.

What will my children remember years from now of their Santos Christmases?

Will they remember visiting the Christmas tree farm to find the perfect tree? Tamales and pupusas and sparkling cider? Sleeping under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve?

Will they remember that Sophia did the gift wrapping resorting to pillowcases and scarves when the paper ran out?

I'm sure they won't forget hanging the Nativity quilt every year, and wishing for snow, wishing for snow, wishing for snow. Most likely they will think fondly, I hope, on playing their violin, or singing or reciting at our Church service.

I hope that they remember Christmas is a time to reflect on GOD WITH US, that the lights, gifts, music, food - all that makes up our celebration is not about us, but in celebration of HIM.

Thank you Father, for sending your Son, Jesus.  This is indeed, a Merry Christmas.


  1. What very happy memories. I especially like the opening the gifts one by one. We did that when I was growing up. In my dh's family, it was everyone tear in at once - no savoring the joy of each other's gift. In our own family, we open the gifts my family's way. I just can't take the confusion of the other. I think it shows love and respect for one another, too.

    Sounds like all the other memories were wonderful, too. It's a warm feeling just to read them. Your family picture here is just beautiful. Genuine smiles.

  2. The kids said, "You forgot about the Christmas Box!" How could I forget that? They receive a Christmas box from their grandma, grandpa, or auntie every year! That is what they will surely remember.

  3. I also have the most wonderful memories of Christmas when I was growing up - and I do worry that I haven't created those same warm memories for my children.

    Think of you and your children this Christmas.

    In His blessed grace.


  4. Been thinking about you all lately! Your beautiful children are getting so big. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

    1. Thank you Sarah! We had a nice Christmas. It's so fun to see your family on facebook at least get a glimpse of your lives. We miss you.


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