Christmas has always been a very special time of year for my family. Coming from a big family, celebrating Christmas meant spending time with a lot of people. I can't remember a Christmas that I have ever spent with less than 20 people. And today is no different. In the number sense anyway.
We always went to my grnadparents house for Christmas. Mamie and Poppy. They are my mom's parents. My mom is one of 5 children and my grandparents now have 19 grandchildren (about half of whom are married) and 12 great-grandchildren. Needless to say, it creates a huge family gathering. And we love it. Everyone brings a side dish or dessert. My Aunt Linda always makes the apple pie and Christmas tree bread. Poppy always made the ham or turkey with mashed potatoes and stuffing. We eat dinner and enjoy eachother's company then it is time for presents. Lots of presents. Music and laughter abounded through out the house. This tradition hasn't changed, much I guess. However, I feel a major part of it is missing. Poppy. We lost Poppy 2 years ago at THanksgiving to cancer. When we did, we lost a huge part of our family. We lost our Santa Clause.
Poppy IS Christmas. He IS Santa Clause. Poppy is the most caring, giving person I have ever met, or ever will meet. For many years, Poppy organized a Christmas party for underpriviledged children and their families. He oped up his home to these families, gave them a Christmas dinner and presents. He would hitch up his horses and give sleigh rides. One year we even had reindeer. And of course, Santa Clause always came to hand out the presents. What more could there be to the true meaning of Christmas?
We no longer have those parties, but luckily our big family is still together. Of course there have been difficult times and we might not always get along but we are family. We belong together. And what better way to celebrate Christmas and the memory of Poppy than to celebrate our holidays together, as family?