I don't live back in the 1950's and 60's but it does comfort me to think back and savor those days when life was a lot simpler.
My mother loved Christmas and surprising people with gifts of love. All the hiding and wrapping must have been hard to do with a big family, such as ours. My mother enjoyed every minute of it.
Instead of buying us socks, underwear and pajamas in Sept, she wrapped them up in December. When we woke up Christmas morning, we thought we had so many gifts! Each of the five of us had a tall stack of presents. Mom wrapped everything, even stocking gifts. It was all so exciting that morning.
Christmas Eve dinner was also anticipated and savored. I didn't even like fish but that was our tradition and that's what we had. Of course, the dessert--pieca dolce, a cheesecake, made from a family recipe was worth the wait. Knowing we would see our cousins and aunts and uncles made the evening special.
Being allowed to stay up late and attend Midnight Mass was a treat, even though lack of sleep made us bleary eyed the next day!
We have tried to keep many of the traditions alive. We still have several fish varieties for this dinner and the children exchange gifts. The excitement is palpable for the little ones and they do enjoy seeing their cousins. Most of all I do miss my parents and their excitement about this holiday. My fond memories keep me smiling and remembering the good times.