A Foot in the Face Family Christmas

by on March 7th, 2015
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When I was younger, every year before I went to college, we used to go all out for Christmas. We would put lights on the house and bushes, and lighted reindeer outside. We would have a Christmas tree that touched the ceiling, with lights and what seemed like a million ornaments. We always bought trees with strong branches, and a lot of space between the limbs, so everything would fit. My mother would collect ornaments throughout the year, and during after-Christmas sales so we could afford them all.

My mother would also create a variety of homemade snacks for the holiday. A few relatives would come over on Christmas Eve, and we would have a huge feast, all made by my mother. The family raved about her cooking. We were allowed to open a single, small present.

Then, one or two of the relatives would stay the night, and we would open presents the next morning, while drinking some sort of holiday drink or coffee. We would start with the stockings, then move on to all the other presents, in a totally chaotic way. Later in the day the rest of the relatives would come over, along with all of their families, and sometimes friends as well, and we would exchange more presents, and enjoy my mother’s buffet of homemade appetizers and sweets.

This is how it was almost every year, except for one. When I was in grade school, we lived in a very small house. It looked even teenier from the outside, as it used to serve as the gardener’s house for the mansion right next door. We had a teeny bedroom for my parents (their bed barely fit the room), a teeny room for my brother and me with a bunk-bed and a small dresser for each of us, a teeny tiny bathroom, a teeny kitchen, and a large (at least compared to the rest of the house) living room with small dining area attached.

One year, all the relatives decided to come on Christmas Eve, so they could have my mother’s Christmas Eve feast. They realized, however, that they didn’t want to miss out on the usual homemade snacks and sweets the next day, so they wanted to stay the night. The problem was that there was not much room for them in such a teeny house.

We solved the problem by folding up the dining table and setting it aside. We put out blankets, and everyone slept in a patchwork that covered the entire dining and living room floor. There were about 12 of them, head to foot, and back to back, with blankets and pillows everywhere in between.

When we woke in the morning, everyone was still sleeping on the floor, and it looked even more chaotic. They had twisted and turned in their sleep, and what started out as head to foot and back to back had become foot to face, head to leg, hand in mouth, and circular and sideways.

I was younger then, and impatient to open my presents. I waited for what seemed like half a day until everyone was up and ready to start in on their stockings. My mother had stayed up to make sure everyone would get some sort of stocking stuffer, even for those who didn’t have stockings. It was one of my favorite Christmas celebrations. I loved having the entire family together, even if I had to wait for my presents. As I got older, I also started to appreciate everything my mother did for us to make our holidays special. I now try my hardest every holiday season to do something special for my parents as well.

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