The countdown has started, and I don't care what you say! Christmas is in a month less one day, deal with it. As soon as my birthday is done, I know Christmas is around the corner. I will say it is weird to hear Christmas music in malls when it's warm outside, and with barely any snow left from earlier this week. I've done Christmas in Florida once, and I can't say I truly enjoyed it. It didn't feel like what I've known all my life as Christmas. I've lived the white Christmases and all that, so being on a beach didn't feel like Christmas at all.
Christmas, for me, has always been about family time. Unlike my American friends, Christmas is way more important (here, for us French Canadian, at least) than Thanksgiving. I don't remember really celebrating Thanksgiving growing up, but Christmas that was always a big deal. Lots of family time, get together and food up the wazoo.
As a kid, we always spent Christmas at my grand parents on my mother's side, up North (six hours from Montreal). On Christmas Eve, they would send us to bed early and would wake us once they were back from midnight mass. Every year Santa came by. Some years he was a little tipsy, but he always came. One year, he looked really strange. He had blue eye shadows! When I mentioned it to my mother, she told me to be quiet or I wouldn't get any gift. Being the eldest, I kept quiet, but I remember thinking it was really strange. Turned out the uncle who was supposed to be Santa was too drunk, so his wife did it instead.
The parents always made a big production of it all. One year an uncle climbed on the roof and made noise, as if Santa was on the roof. One year they made noises in the basement, Santa was coming in that way.
I miss those days. It was fun to wonder if we would get what we'd asked for (we often didn't, but were happy nonetheless), to see cousins we'd only see then, to stay up late playing with our new toys and eating a full meal after it all and just before going to bed. On Christmas day it was either really quiet, kids playing together and adults playing cards, or it was a party. I remember how neighbors would come by during the day for a short visit, just long enough to enjoy a shot of gin, how there was always someone coming in wishing everyone "Merry Christmas" and how there was always food to be had and jokes to be told. It was fun. That's how I remember it at least...
How about you? How were your Christmases growing up?