And so it ends
- There were a few years when my Dad was trying to make a living as an entrepreneur or a musician, and money was more than tight. Heading through the final weeks of December there would be only one or two presents under the tree for each of us kids. And yet, somehow, every one of those years found the tree overflowing with box's and bows on Christmas Eve. I never knew how they did it, but we never did without more than we deserved.
- My Mom is one hundred percent Scandinavian so we celebrated many Swedish traditions for Christmas including St. Lucia Day (Dec. 13) where we started the day with cinnamon rolls and orange tea and ended it decorating the tree as a family.
- Every Christmas in my memory included a set of red glass bulbs on the tree. And from an early teenage age, every year I accidentally broke one of them. I inherited what was left of the set, and last year I decorated my tree with them, only to have Alli break one. LOL!!!
- Alli's Mom donated an old tree to me last year and despite its size, it survived my sell-down of possessions and is proudly decorated (thanks to Alli) in the living room of my new house.
- One of our Swedish traditions was opening our presents on Christmas Eve. With Christmas now a free day, we piled into the car and drove the two hours to my Grandparents' house in Latrobe, PA to open presents with my Dad's parents. Always a fun time and always lots of love.
- My Dad had two aunts (my Grandma's sisters) who lived together. One of them, Aunt Ginna, was legally blind and wore these crazy inch-thick glasses that distorted her eyes. She was so blind, that even with those glasses, someone had to tell her who she was hugging when we visited her house. Despite that blindness, she made the most amazingly decorated cookies. To this day, those are my favorite cookies I've ever had in my entire life.
- My Dad always told us a story of his parents buying him a puppy one Christmas. They put an alarm clock in the box so the ticking would calm the puppy. As my Dad told the story, he woke up in the middle of the night thinking there was a bomb under the tree. Well, when I was around ten years old, my sisters and I re-created the event with an alarm clock and a stuffed animal puppy. I still have the pictures of the fun.
- Every single year, someone in the family got a present wrapped in layer after layer of wrapping paper. More often than not, it was my sister Kris who ended up with it because she was the most fun to watch.
- Every year, the most exciting day before Christmas was when the giant box came from my Mom's parents up in New York. We never believed in Santa in our house, but my Grandma always labeled them, "From: Santa".
- My Grandpa Thompson loved pickled herring, and I was the only one in the family that shared his love for it. Every year around Christmas we had a jar in the fridge.
- Even though we didn't believe in Santa, we always had stockings on Christmas morning. Every year my stocking included an orange, a toothbrush, and a Matchbox car.
- Great Lakes Brewing Christmas Ale. Enough said.
And to end this good memory post, here's a couple pictures from the last Christmas at the Log House: