Christmas 1975. I was a month old and Jodi was almost 17. Mom was 41 and dad almost 41. I was exactly a month early, and was supposed to be born on December 25. Mom tells everyone that I finally started to look "normal" on Christmas because my first month I had a staph skin infection from the hospital. But I made a quick recovery just in time to enjoy my first Christmas with my family.
Mom still sets out the nativity scene in the background. And that tree came home with dad one day. 1975 was a big year for him: a new kid, a new car (a blue GMC Pacer - not a long-lived model - looked like a circus clown car), a color TV, and this tree. And maybe that snazzy shirt. Mom told him she didn't want to deal with a real tree, so he went to Montgomary Wards and picked this one up. From the front it looks fine. It was really missing half a back, and we would set it up so the missing back faced out the window. I laughed at it for many years.
Christmas Eve is big in my family. We open family presents, typically have mom's homemade spaghetti and meatballs (although Swedish and German, she uses a recipe from an Italian family), and church. When I was little mom and Jodi went to the late night service. I remember mom would wear a bell necklace and I would listen by the door in my room for it to stop jingling and then I would sneak out for a while and gaze at the tree, all alone in the living room. . . and watch for Santa out the window.
And when I'd wake up in the morning that Rudolph had left behind evidence of very messy carrot eating.
Enjoy the wonder of this night.