Christmas Memory

By , Cortland, OH
Christmas Eve, I lay in bed anticipating the upcoming day. I think about who will be coming to my house, if my friends will like their gifts, what could be under the tree, and how I am going to survive my family for the whole day. Then after hours of endless thoughts, I finally fall into a light sleep, covered under a pile of blankets only to wait for tomorrow’s upcoming events.

I awake to the sound of sleigh bells singing of holiday merriness, the first sign showing that Christmas Day is finally here. The jingling continues for a couple of minutes, loud and vibrating through the entire house. I pry myself out from under my covers and head downstairs. The smell of syrup and coffee wafts through the kitchen and a round of joyous Merry Christmas’ and artificial smiles go around. My grandfather puts away his sleigh bells and gives me a very big hug, then turns back to my family and begins his long speech about how America needs help, how unintelligent people can be, and a round of racist jokes.

We then sit down and begin our bountiful breakfast consisting of the same food we have every year; French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes. My family piles their plates up high. The conversation at the table is very dull. My family talks about the president, cars, money, my sister and her progress in college, and how the food tastes. The same responses and artificial smiles are shared again, just like every Christmas. My mother tries to hide her annoyance with the family because of the holiday, my father blatantly agrees with everything my grandfather says, without paying attention, my sister and her boyfriend sit there talking quietly only speaking to congratulate my mother on another wonderful Christmas breakfast. I sit there quietly eating my food slowly, starting with the sticky French toast then onto the potatoes. I am not used to eating breakfast, especially with the family; it isn’t something we have often.

Once our meal is over, my family and I clean up our mess and head over to the living room, the tree brightly lit and spinning with a very hefty amount of presents under it all wrapped in different paper. I hand out the presents, one by one; my sister opens the first one. We go around our circle one at a time opening them, all the while still continuing the same conversations from earlier. My mother and father act like the presents are from Santa Claus. My first few packages consist of clothes. T- shirts that my mother has picked out and think are cute, and any shirt my mother picks out is definitely one I won’t wear. Bright pinks and blues and odd patterns cover them entirely. I set them aside forming my pile in the corner.

My grandfather hands out his gifts next. I already know a small package contains a brand new set of quarters and a card saying that he deposited 75 dollars into my savings account. I mutter a thank you and slide that gift into the pile also. We continue with the gifts, my sister opening many small presents containing flashy jewelry from her boyfriend, and my parents exchange their gifts to each other. Once the presents are all opened, my pile contains many clothes and a couple books that I have never heard of. I stand up and give my family a hug and say thank you.

After that, we all go our own ways and do whatever we want. I go up to my bedroom and read, while my mother cooks, my father cleans, and my sister and her boyfriend watch a movie. Our normal dad is back to where it should be minimal conversation and no artificial acting.
That normal feeling is then spoiled again when we then meet again at dinner time, my uncle arrives and we all sit around the table. We pass around the food, turkey mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and green beans. We talk about the same subjects from earlier, and I sit there quietly, wondering when these traditions will liven up or change.

After dinner everyone leaves. My grandfather heads home carrying along leftovers, my uncle heads to work, and I head upstairs to my bedroom, walking in and loving the fact that I had made it through this long day.

The traditions are over and the repetitiveness is done. As I lay in bed thinking about the day and how pre planned it all is, I come to realize that my family has lost the meaning of Christmas. Our traditions are the same boring and plain things every holiday, and we don’t change or add to them. We give presents and think we are being generous; we act differently towards one another for one day, only to go back to our normal ways and habit the next.

Our Christmas has become mundane and bland. We have lost the true meaning of this holiday it and have become a materialistic season. The concept of being kind, spreading joy and the birth of Jesus has been woven into the holiday but only to be covered up. There comes a time in life when you need to stop following the traditions that you have been taught for so long, and create new ones that are your own.





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