Christmas Memories

I first wrote this Christmas Memories blog back in 2006, but have updated a few parts as needed for this year.  Have a safe and blessed Holiday!

Santa is so smart.

When I was a kid my Mom, Grandpa and Grandma Kudek and I always drove to the nursing home to pick up Great-Grandpa Ruplinger to be part of our Christmas celebration.  But, since the holidays are such a tough time of year, Dad was always too tired to drive along. He needed to stay home and take a nap.  Round trip time from our house to the nursing home and back was probably about 45 minutes.  And when Dad was home catching some shut eye on the couch, Santa dropped off all our presents!!!!  How did he know Dad would be sleeping?  And how was he able to land the sled on the roof and not wake him up?  It was feat that still amazes me today!

Christmas Eve when I was a kid was always spent by Grandpa and Grandma Kudek and Christmas Day was by Grandpa and Grandma Thelen.  I'm blessed to be in two families that really don't have any dysfunctional animosity.  It was just a joy to get together with my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Distant Relatives or friends who may stop by. The Thelens would always end up singing.  The Kudeks tried, but let's just say that side of the family will never give the Von Traps a run for their money.  Peanuts creator Charles Schultz once said true security is sleeping in the back seat of the car while your Dad's driving home.  That's the feeling that comes over me when I think back to those days is like that.

Part of my family tradition is also popcorn balls which we made earlier this month.  We've been doing this so many years, we have it down to a science.  Everyone in the family, who can make it, joins in on the process in my parents basement (they have a stove down there and it's a lot easier to clean up)  And everyone has their own job.  This year we made more than 500 of them, even though we won't need anywhere that many.  By the way, my job is baller.

As my Godson gets older, he becomes a bigger part of my traditions.  Last year, he got me an ornament that said "I love my Godfather."  Have to admit it brought me to tears.  Earlier this year when the Fleet Farm toy catalog came, we had him sit down and show me what he wanted for Christmas.  This is not an exaggeration, he pointed to every toy on every page, saying "I want this."  He's getting Play Dough, Lego's and swimming lessons at his local Y.  But, don't tell him.  I see him at two parties over the holidays.  One is at my aunt (his grandma) and her partner's house.  There, we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus before we open presents.  What a great way to teach kids about the reason for the season.

OK, I've probably bored you to tears with my Christmas memories. I'd love to hear some of yours.  And if I don't get to talk to you again before the big day, Merry Christmas.  May it give you the feeling of sleeping in the back of the car while your Dad is driving home.

Now, I'd love to hear about some of your traditions.



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