Ghosts of Christmas Past

As I prepare to host my very first holiday gathering – well, any gathering really – in my new apartment this Christmas Eve, I cannot help but reflect upon the many wonderful memories from past celebrations, most of which took place in the comfort and warmth of Grandma and Grandpa’s house. With the passing of my grandmother earlier this year, there was an immediate sense that this holiday season would be a bit different. 

So many years – decades, really – spent gathered around the big dining room table each Christmas Eve, of “helping” Grandma bake her famous Christmas cookies (basically watching and waiting and then sneaking a couple as soon as they came out of the oven), of marveling at the gigantic Christmas tree and the beautiful decorations… of hoping that, one day, I would be lucky enough to have a house as beautiful and as full of love as Grandma and Grandpa’s.

Well, my little apartment gathering may be coming together on a bit of a smaller scale, but the sentiment is the same. Any time family and loved ones get together to celebrate, memories are made – and preserved for future generations to appreciate, and add to. My only hope is that they are never lost.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to put together a project back in college for my Family Literacy class which asked us to illustrate one family tradition through words and photographs, providing details and dialogue, recipes and anecdotes, creating a scrapbook of memories. I chose Christmas Eve and all the traditions that came with it for my family for the first 20 or so years of my life… from our traditional “table photo” taken from the top of the staircase, to my Uncle Al, also since passed, mixing the martinis as we arrived and, later on, after the first three or so courses of dinner, fighting with me for that last fried shrimp. How precious that project is today. 

By the time you read this, my little celebration will have come and gone, and with it, new memories made. Who knows, maybe one day it will become the stuff of scrapbook legend! Either way, I know I will have at least two angels watching over things to make sure all goes smoothly.


{Published: December 25th, 2013}

Jamie Lynn RyanComment