When I was a little kid, I lived in Walnut Creek, California. Most of my extended family lived nearby, Carmel, Pebble Beach and Monterrey. Every Christmas, my parents, my brother and I would drive up to visit. Every Christmas Eve was spent with my Dad's side of the family. This usually involved many members of the family and included dinner, presents, caroling, watching home movies and one of the adult men dressing up as Santa. Christmas morning was spent with my Mom's side which involved only a few family members and included presents, brunch and enjoying our gifts. I remember those days fondly.
Fast forward to 1978 when my Dad was transferred to Cincinnati, Ohio. No family nearby, a few friends, and all the other drama attached to such a move. In an effort to make our first Christmas in our new home a pleasurable experience, my parents came up with the idea of our new Christmas Eve tradition. We ordered in pizza, watched slides of times gone by and opened one present each. This new tradition continued for many years.
Many moves, two marriages, the passing of my Mother and the remarry of my Father later, I still try to maintain that pizza on Christmas Eve tradition. I still get my brother to come over to see my family, have pizza and exchange gifts. It doesn't always happen on Christmas Eve, but it's close. My wife's family had their traditions too and we've had to adapt as things change.
I still look back on that first Christmas in our new home in Cincinnati and think about how things were. It was a different kind of Christmas, but a good one. Everything was different and that was okay. My parents made it so. I don't know if I ever told them so, but I will this year. I'll call my Dad in South Carolina and hope my Mom can hear from wherever she is. Pizza anyone?