Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!!

Driving through my favorite neighborhoods looking at all the Christmas lights, baking oatmeal cookies with my Mom for Santa, taking the presents to my grandparents house with my dad on Christmas Eve, preparing dinner for family and friends, making all the seasonal favorites and spending time with the people I love most are only a few of the cherished traditions and memories I have of Christmas.  As I child my brother and I would spend weeks searching the house for presents that were not yet wrapped to see what we would soon be unwrapping.  The fresh smell of of Mom making chex mix, the entertainment of our family making Egg Nog Cakes and the labor involved (with great reward) in making homemade ambrosia are some of my favorite memories, all to the soundtrack of the chipmunks or Dolly and Kenny's Christmas Album in the background.  As much as I loved the preparation for Christmas it was the actual day that truly makes the season come alive in my heart each year.  

We would start the day waiting in seeming agony while Dad set up the video camera to capture our surprise and excitement over what Santa had brought us the night before.  After all the presents under the tree were unwrapped and the final gifts were discovered in our stockings we would get ready for the day, sometimes after a quick ride on our new bike in the driveway.  Over to Nannie and Granddaddy's we would go!  Our first stop of the day consisted of sharing with our cousins what Santa had brought to each and every one of us and a Christmas turkey that, in a child's eyes, was as big and delicious as the one Scrooge took to Tiny Tim's family on Christmas Day!  

   Tommy Allen and Walker Clayton what seems like a million years ago!
 Admit it, everyone has one...the relative that makes you show everyone your gift....
enters my Great Aunt Pie!
 Everyone would typically end up in the basement playing pool

From there we would travel to Eddie and Kathi's for Christmas with my Mom's side of the family and sit in front of the rip roaring fire my uncle would always build until our backs itched with heat.  It was my favorite spot in the house and every year my cousin Jana and I would claim our spot as soon as everyone started to arrive!  
Our last stop of the day was so special.  We would all pile in the car and head to East Nashville to be with my Grandfather, Pa's siblings and their families.  

 Three generations of "Ruth"s

As you can see we have been gathering like this for years! (that's me in the plaid jumper on the front row with an uncharacteristic scowl on my face)
The kids would pile in the den and watch A Christmas Story for the millionth time while the adults would gather in the kitchen and catch up on what everyone had done since we had all been together for the Allen Family reunion the previous summer.  Towards the end of the night when things were winding down, everyone, kids included, would gather in the kitchen for Christmas Carols.  It was the most beautiful harmony I have ever heard in my entire life.  No church choir can compare to the harmony created when that much love was present.  Every year I would find myself getting choked up by the songs, by the love and the generations who gathered together once again to be with family from all over.  

Over the years our traditions have changed but as always, one things remains the same, our love of one another and being together for the holidays is all that matters.  This year we have an added bonus, it is my nephew Emory's first Christmas.  With Emory and all of my cousins beautiful children another generation gets to experience all that made the holidays so special to me when I was little and I can't wait to see all the memories the future holds!

May the most you wish for be least you get!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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