In addition to being super grateful that I am not spending this year recovering from major surgery (I can walk around! And go places! And do things!), I’m feeling super nostalgic for all the Christmas Eve rituals that mom and dad and I used to participate in.
Santa photos took place from the time I was a(n ugly—according to mom) baby until I was 12 at the Frederick & Nelson downtown (Nordstrom now occupies that building. It’s a really beautiful building!), sometimes in outfits my mom made herself. When I was 10, I wanted to wear jeans instead of the skirt that went with the satin blouse mom made. I remember her being really upset about this, but I wouldn’t budge. My favorite thing about the Santa pics was that it meant we were going to the F&N café for lunch, which involved Frango CAKE afterwards. That, and the awesome windows that you could place your hands on to control the trains (Macy’s STILL has these!).
Christmas Eve always involved cookie making in the morning (sugar cookies cut into Christmas shapes; butter spritz, jam-filled thumbprints) and wrapping the last of the gifts to place under the tree. And this was ALWAYS done to the same three holiday albums: Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas and just his plain Christmas Album, and of course, Christmas with the Chipmunks—ALLLLVVVVINNNN!
We listened to them so much that whenever I hear a song from one of the Elvis albums, my brain immediately expects the next one on the album to come up and gets totally confused when it doesn’t.
Christmas Eve also involved food, and lots of it. Traditionally baked ham, but without any of that pineapple slice bullshit; mashed potatoes; the ever-present 70s green bean casserole, white dinner rolls, and fruit salad (canned fruit salad mixed with COOL WHIP, fresh bananas added). Plus, pre-dinner snacks—lots and lots and lots of them. Continue reading