When I was a little boy my aunt would stay with us on Christmas. Truth be told, she wasn’t really an aunt, but someone my grandparents were friends with and became part of their family. When my dad and his siblings grew up, she became part of their families.
Aunt Cella, which is what we called her, stayed with us on Christmas.
Christmas Eve, Cella would sleep on the couch in the living room, my sisters and I would sleep in our rooms, our parents in theirs.
Christmas morning my sisters and I would take turns getting out of bed to ask if we could get up to see if Santa had come. Cella would do her best to talk them into it as well. My youngest sister, then, was too little to take part in this.
Once we were up we’d go in the living room and see whatever Santa had brought us.
After my parents divorced we’d still see Cella on Christmas, but it was always at her house where Santa would leave us a present as well, a small toy or a coloring book.
Cella didn’t stay with us for a long time after my parents divorced. It wasn’t until I was thirteen that she stayed with my dad and I. But never again at Christmas.
My fondest memories of Christmas were those mornings with Cella, my sisters and I trying to talk our parents into letting us get up and whatever we’d do Christmas morning.
My favorite Christmas’ as a kid were those. When my parents divorced we started new traditions on Christmas, though I don’t recall what they were.
Now I’m the dad with two little kids who I know will want to get up early on Christmas and I see the Christmas traditions my wife and I are creating with our kids.
Gingerbread houses with mom, my son helping me string the lights on the tree and putting ornaments that we’ve bought for the kids and for each other throughout our life together and I hope our kids look as fondly on the memories we’ve tried to create as I do on Christmas with Cella, my mom and dad still married and my sisters and I trying to let us get up to open presents.