I recall that first year we only had a small tree table and this ornament was one of our gifts.
That year also began what became a fourteen year tradition of "going home" for Christmas. "Going home" meant to Elmira, New York - to my last childhood home and where some of my younger siblings still resided.
We jokingly called going home "The Command Performance". Because Mom expected us to be home for Christmas. And none of us had the
Everyone gathered at Mom's house on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. We would attend a candlelight service at church, and then head back home where Mom had a buffet of finger sandwiches, chocolates, Christmas cookies and assorted condiments - it was truly a culinary feast and just the beginning of the overindulgence.
Christmas Eve tended to run very late - and as we got older and added more spouses, and then our own children to the mix, it became quite the chaotic affair. But one I wouldn't have traded for anything.
Christmas morning we would all gather and open gifts (which was loud, noisy, messy, and chaotic) and then help prepare the traditional Christmas feast. By this time we had graduated to the "grown up" table and the "kids table" began being populated with our own children and their cousins.
With Mom's grandchildren added to the mix, Christmas Eve began to include a visit from Santa Claus (aka Uncle Frankie) who actually did a paid stint as Santa every year and came to Mom's house when he was done for the night - usually pushing close to midnight. Which led to some very tired, hopped up on sugar, wild grandchildren!
And those lovely dresses were made by the girls' Nana - who had a tradition for a short while of making them the most beautiful matching clothes every year.
Sadly, this was the last year for the full-blown Christmas bash at Mom's house and the visit from Santa.
The Christmas of 1997 Mom was confined to a bed in the family room, where she participated as much as she could, and we were all there, but she was no longer running the show. She died in February 1998 of renal cancer. And I am so grateful now to have the memories of so many years of wonderful Command Performance Christmases!
I'm participating in Sian's Christmas Club - you can join HERE.