Christmas Eve at my parent's house is magical! They decorate the house from outside to inside and everything has special meaning. We ALL love seeing those special items that remind us of Christmas holidays from long ago. There are ornaments that belonged to my grandparents and photos displayed from our childhood Christmas cards. The nieces and nephews always love looking at them and we often hear them exclaiming how one of THEM looks just like one of US (myself or my siblings). The outside of the house is beautiful and also has some nostalgic touches. The sled on the front porch was ridden many times down hills at Hedges Boyer Park and the skates (not sure who actually wore those) remind me of the many times we skated at the Tiffin Developmental Center creek or at the "swamp" area beside the creek at the park (there was always a lot of shoveling required before we could actually skate :-). The dinner table is decked out in red and green and, of course, there are table prizes (gifts) for each of us. My parents KNOW how to do Christmas right!
We have lots of traditions... mass at St. Mary's Church, h'ordeuvres in the family room, dinner at the BIG table (and we still manage to squeeze EVERYONE around the table... kids AND adults!) and then gift opening. The kids are bouncing around like pinballs as soon as they finish eating (that takes about 5 minutes!) but us adults like to sit around at the table chatting and laughing. This year, we were "whooping" it up for quite some time... the kids had to be extra patient waiting for "Christmas" to begin. We start in the living room where kids get new pajamas (and run upstairs to immediately put them on!) and everyone gets a special ornament. We move into the family room and it's just a flurry of gifts and wrapping paper! It really is quite magical - but then again, Christmas was very magical EVERY year when I was a child.
There is one difference in our Christmas Eve celebrations today as compared to when I was little. I can remember how excited we would get at my Grandma's house when we heard sleigh bells ringing... that meant that SANTA was coming to see us. We sat on his lap and he gave us one of our Christmas presents. We all knew that he was the REAL Santa! Today, my brother likes to put on his white beard and Santa hat when he arrives for Christmas Eve. The kids all know it's their Uncle and there is a lot of laughing. However, the littlest niece (who is just 2), did NOT know it was her uncle and when he walked in the door with a "ho, ho, ho", she screamed in FEAR and ran faster than I've ever seen her into the arms of her mother! It took a lot of coaxing to get her to see that it was just her Uncle being silly (that is why there is no picture of her with "Santa"). I've posted a photo of me visiting with the REAL Santa (I think I was in in first grade).
As I sit here typing this, I am watching the snow fall gently outside my window. It's absolutely breathtaking... and very Christmas-y. I love winter and Christmas is the beginning of this lovely season! I hope you enjoy viewing the Rombach family Christmas below. I am so blessed to have such an amazing family!!
... and now it's on to 2012! Happy New Year!