December 26th, 2006
In part 1, I wrote about Christmas at home growing up.
Today I’ll write about Christmas at my Grandpa Goerzen’s place.
The family usually got together sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, whenever it worked for everyone. Names for a gift exchange would be drawn well in advance. Each person would give and get one gift at the gift exchange.
Except for us kids. Grandpa always had something extra for us. And it always seemed to be just what we wanted, too. After all the other presents were exchanged, Grandpa would somehow produce a few more. He’d get a sly grin and say “Here’s another one.” And with that, we’d get to open it. As I got older, I knew my parents were probably giving him suggestions, but still — there was always something special from Grandpa.
That grin went something like this.
The main dish for Christmas at Grandpa’s was usually ham, or maybe his famous beef borscht. I always hoped for the beef borscht, anyway.
After the meal, people would do dishes or sit around and talk.
Sometimes I’d get bored and try to leave, but other times there was exploring to be done. Maybe I’d discover some long-forgotten game in the cold storage room upstairs.
On Sunday, I had the good fortune to have 5 reels of old family slides pass through my hands. I’ve been feverishly scanning all 500 of them on my slide scanner. At tomorrow’s Goerzen Christmas, I’ll bring along DVD+Rs of these scanned images for people — I think it’ll be great.
One of the slides was this picture of Grandma and Grandpa Goerzen’s Christmas tree in 1971.
It’s really neat to see pictures of the house we’ll move into shortly from so long ago.
And just a few slides past that, there was this photo of my grandparents on the 25th anniversary. It wasn’t at Christmas, but it’s fitting:
That sure looks like a happy couple to me.
Terah and I had been talking that Christmas this year wasn’t quite the same, with all our decorations and even wrapping paper being in storage, not having a house to decorate anyway (we’re still in the temporary apartment), etc.
But being different doesn’t mean that it’s worse. The best gifts we have don’t come in boxes under a tree. They’re the love we get and give to each other every day of the year.
Grandpa had the same smile in his anniversary picture that he had at Christmas 19 years after Grandma died. I think he’s understood what the best gifts are for a long time.