By Liz, waiting for Santa Paws with Penny and Molly! (The cats are kind of cynical at this point…must be old age.)
I love Christmas Eve. It’s kind of a given as an Italian – it was always the biggest part of the celebration. When I was a kid, we always had Christmas Eve at our house and my parents made it special every year. My grandparents were there, and while sometimes we had relatives from my father’s side of the family, more often than not it was me, my brother, my parents and my mother’s parents.
And of course, that meant a lot of traditions. This year especially, I’ve been thinking a lot about the holidays and their different iterations over the years. I think no matter what form they’ve taken during different times in my life, the feeling of Christmas – and especially Christmas Eve – was seared into my person by the first 20+ years of my life doing it my family’s way. And despite our differences over the rest of the years, when I think of what the holidays feel like, I’ll always think of our house in Methuen, with the two trees (one upstairs, one down), the massive amounts of decorations, the Christmas classics on the stereo.
So today I thought I’d do a few top five lists of my favorite things, in honor of all those Christmases past. Starting with overall traditions:
- Picking out a real tree at a neighborhood farm and decorating it on my birthday weekend (the last weekend in November)
- Watching Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas on Christmas Eve
- My mother’s homemade fudge
- A game (or three) of 45’s (if you’re not from Methuen or Lawrence you probably don’t know what this is, but it’s a card game – my grandfather’s favorite)
- Going out to look at Christmas lights at least twice during the season (I found this gem below this weekend by chance!)
Of course, there are the Christmas carols. My top five classics, in honor of my dad:
- The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
- Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
- Suzy Snowflake (my mother and I used to play this on the piano together)
- Rockin Around the Christmas Tree
- Sleigh Ride
- Honorary mention – Blue Christmas (not my favorite, but my dad always sang it)
And finally, a tradition we started when I was older: Watching Christmas movies on Christmas Eve before dinner. Some of our faves:
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart version)
- Dr. Seuss’s aforementioned The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
- Frosty the Snowman, because what’s Christmas without Frosty?
- And one of mine – Love Actually.
Finally, since we’re in the Christmas spirit, I thought it fitting to share with you the cover of the next Cat Cafe book, since it’s Christmas-themed.
Thanks for letting me share some memories with you. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and happy holiday season!
Share some of your favorite holiday memories with us below!