This year I've decided to write a special Christmas memory for the 25 days of Christmas. Each day until Christmas day, I will share a funny Christmas moment, memorable gift exchange, and my happy moments with family. I hope you enjoy!
6th Day of Christmas
Back in the day, when our family was not as huge - well it was still huge but not that huge - all of my family on my dad's side would gather together at my Aunt Barbs for a spectacular Christmas Eve Italian Fish Fest. This included my dad and his three siblings and their kids and sometimes their kids as well as my Grandparents. Growing up year after year with this tradition was so much fun. My mom would dress me and my siblings alike and my three girl cousins in the same age group as us would have on matching dresses. There were so many people that my aunt set up big tables in the basement. The youngest kids (us) would sit in the way back with the sofa as one side of our seating.
The first course was muscles. Everyone but a few of the kids loved the muscles. Each year we would try and force my cousin Gina to eat one and each time she'd get this look on her face and spit it out. Every year without fail. Then came the macaroni with calamar (or plain macaroni for us kids), smelts, and other various sea creatures. The calamar (or calamari/squid for those non Italians) would be joked about. My uncle Jim would always put a big one in his mouth and let us all know he could feel the tentacles going down his throat - which in turned made all the kids scream eeoowww!
Then came eveyone's favorite stuffed shrimp. By the time the shrimp came, most of us could only eat one or two because we were so full so there were always plenty of left overs. After dinner the kids would get up first and run upstairs to play while the grow ups talked and joked for a while.
Upstairs was our haven while the grown ups were downstairs. I am the oldest granddaughter and the oldest of the second batch of cousins. So there were six of us younger ones and then six older ones. The six of us younger ones would play all sorts of games upstairs. Our favorites included playing ring around the rosey, spinning to motor boat, and telling each other the secret of what our moms bought each other. I was the piano player of the group so I would get out my Christmas songbook and play a variety of tunes. That would bring up my grandmother who then sang along.
The best tradition we had though by far was pissing my Aunt Barb off! Each year my cousins Mel, Gina, and I would go into the bathroom and blow out her candles. She would then go in and start going crazy about someone blowing out her candles. I'm not sure how many years it took for her to realize it was us but it still brings a smile to my face to this day.
Eventually my older cousins started getting married and having kids of their own. The gathering got a wee bit smaller as families did their own thing. I kept going until Jared and I got married. We started our own tradition on Christmas Eve - one that comes from his mom who is Austrian. It's fun for me to have a new tradition that means so much to Jared but at the same time I miss the old traditions too. The only saving grace is that Christmas Eve at my aunt's house are not the same as they were when I was a kid anyways. People have changed and the fun is just not there for me anymore. I guess that happens when you grow up.
All I know is that I'll cherish my memories at my aunts house for all times.