When I reflect on my childhood, it is the holiday traditions—not the gifts—which are memorable. At Christmas time we met at Grandma and Grandpa Rose’s house for a family party on Christmas Eve. During the gathering time we ate Grandma’s fudge and banana slush. When all arrived, the party began with one of my grandparent’s children and their family taking a turn presenting the Christmas story. Afterwards, all the children took a turn sharing a talent—singing, playing an instrument, reading a poem or telling a story or joke. All eighteen grandchildren were expected to participate. Some paired up and did things together. Then we sang Christmas carols and Santa and Mrs. Clause came to pass out their gifts. Grandma and Grandpa went to a lot of work to make it such an enjoyable evening.
As the Rose family grew we switched the party to December 23rd to accommodate a larger family’s schedule.
The best gift they gave us was a close family and wonderful memories with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Now that my grandparents are gone — my parents, both in their eighties, carry on this same tradition with their children, grand- and great-grandchildren now totaling seventy-three people. Too large for a family picture. They go to the same work as my grandparents did to keep our family close and build wonderful memories for the new generation.