My family loves big get togethers for Christmas.
I grew up having a big family Christmas in Hope, AR each year. My dad had 3 brothers and we all got together at Pappy and Granny’s each year and with each year there were more of us to attend. There was one thing that was always for sure. The youngest always ended up in Pappy’s lap.
One of the best things about these gatherings was how we all forgot about any problems we had with each other. I know other families tend to have some fight when a bunch of them got together. But that didn’t happen in Hope.
Another good thing was the food. There was always Duck and dressing, black eyed peas, candied yams, pecan pie and banana pudding. We couldn’t have a family gathering without banana pudding and there was rarely any left by the time everyone went back home.
Christmas always got started at Thanksgiving. Pappy would get the fake tree out of the closet and bring it into the living room. Then the boxes of decorations were left there. Once I got old enough to put up the tree, I started doing that. When Laura was there, she would help. We did this until Sammie Kay and Skipper started putting up the tree. I thought putting up the tree was fun. Watching them was even better.
Because everyone had their own schedule, we rarely had Christmas on Christmas day. And of course, the day before we celebrated. It seemed like everyone took some time to see who had the biggest or strangest sounding present (when shook). While we were checking out the presents, we could always hear Granny in the kitchen telling some tale while she was getting the cooking done.
On the morning of Christmas, the doors to the living room were shut. No one was allowed in until everyone was up and ready. In other words, we had to wait until Uncle David was finished eating his breakfast. I can still see my cousin Laura standing there with her fists on her hips giving him a dirty look because he was taking too long, he just smiled real big at her and wiggled his big ears.
Going into the living room could be crazy. Especially if Santa left stuff for you there. Then as everyone settled down in a big circle around the room, Pappy would pass out the presents. Years later, when his feet began to bother him, he sat in a chair next to the tree and had the younger kids bring him the presents and he would read out who it was to. He was always next to the tree where he could have an unobstructed view of everyone there.
Published in: Family