Christmas Eve at Grandma's

Christmas Eve at Grandma's

A Chapter by Wendy Seames Garner

My Christmases spent at grandma's house, during the 1950's and 1960's.


The eight block ride across town, on Christmas Eve, seemed to last forever. The car's heater working over-time to clear the frost from the windows. We four kids in the back seat were cramped, elbows and legs tangled together. Dawn was so lucky, being the baby, she got to sit up front with mom and dad.  But we were afraid to complain too much for fear of Santa hearing.

At last we pulled up in front of grandpa and grandma's house. Falling out of the car into the icy air, we raced to be the first inside. We were eager to get in from the cold December winds and to spy out our gifts.

Opening the door we were assailed with the delicious smells of grandma's cooking and the warmth of the living room's gas furnace - kind of an early day gas fireplace.

Grandma greeted us each with a hug and a kiss at the door, her blue-gray eyes twinkling as she said, “Oh my goodness, you've gotten so big!”  - even though we had just seen her the previous Sunday. 

We felt so grown up as each of us surpassed grandma in height. Grandma was only about four feet, eight inches tall and a little on the plump side. Grandma's dark blond hair was kept short and curly. Grandma would have made the perfect Mrs. Claus, she both looked and acted the part.

"The Laidlers left at ten o'clock this morning," Grandpa told us, "And I haven't seen the Smiths at all today."

Grandpa reigned from his overstuffed chair by the front window, he never left, except to eat, sleep and use the bathroom.  Sitting there, he made it his business to know everything the neighbors were doing.  At one time, he had worked at the railroad station, but I only remembered him sitting in that chair, smoking as the room filled with a blue haze.  Upon arriving, we were expected to give grandpa a kiss on the cheek.  Grandpa's breath smelled of beer and his cheek was scratchy, I only gave him a quick peck.

The Christmas tree was of the Victorian-style, very small, sparsely needled and sitting on a table.  Hanging from it were glass ornaments in the shapes of birds and pine cones, and colorful round balls with star-like silver insets.  A Santa ornament hung there as well, its mesh middle once holding nuts.  Laying our gifts for grandpa and grandma under the tree, I spotted two of my gifts.

Mom and grandma went into the kitchen where preparations for dinner where almost complete.  They chatted as they worked, the sounds of their voices filtering into the living room where dad and grandpa watched TV.

We weren't allowed to open presents until after dinner.  Our investigation of the tree complete, Mike, Patti, and I tried to content ourselves by lying on the floor watching whatever grandpa had on the TV.  It really didn't interest me - so I lay watching the flames leap in the furnace.  Dawn and Terry played with our dad's old toys.  Unlatching the back of the metal Vernor's semi-truck, Dawn filled it with metal World War I soldiers, while Terry shot paper wads from the silver cannon.

Finally dinner was ready.  Stomaches growling, we made our way to the big oak dining room table.  The table was overflowing with food:  huge bowls of scalloped potatoes with ham, green peas, tossed salad, relish trays, and hot rolls.  For dessert there was a custard-filled cake, apple pie, and French Vanilla ice cream.  Grandma made sure no one left that table hungry.  

"You are the best cook, Gramma," I said, trying to decide whether I wanted more scalloped potatoes or to leave room for more dessert.

As we waited for mom and grandma to finish the dishes - and our stomachs to recuperate - we again found our spots on the living room floor. 

"My stomach hurts," Mike groaned. 

When the fire got too hot, Patti, Terry, and I moved into grandma's bedroom, where the air was frosty.  

"I get the bed," Patti and I both said, leaving Terry with the floor.  

"Can't I at least lay on the bottom?" Terry asked. 

"No!" Patti and I said in chorus.  We were older than Terry, so we bossed him.

At last, the moment we had all been waiting for arrived, the dishes finished, it was time to open presents!  It was exciting, though we pretty much knew what to expect.  Grandma always gave us each a box of vanilla drops, something to wear and one other small item. 

This year, in addition to my box of vanilla drops, I received a pink oxford style shirt.  My last gift was in a small rectangular box, opening it I found a gold link bracelet, a pearls set on each link.  I felt so grown-up. 

"Thank you, Gramma, it's beautiful!" I said, hugging grandma and kissing her cheek.

Walking across the room towards grandpa, I said, "Thanks for the Christmas present, Grampa!"  I was just about to lean over and give him a kiss...

"The Laidler's just got home, they've been gone for ten hours!  I think they've brought someone home with them."  he cried out, practically jumping out of his chair.

Aware of every move the neighbors made, grandpa was completely oblivious to his five grandchildren, sitting right there in front of him.

© 2012 Wendy Seames Garner

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register


Some people are like that. This was a nice story. I'll read more.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


1 Review
Added on April 17, 2012
Last Updated on April 18, 2012
Tags: copyright WSG, Christmas, grandma, 1950's, 1960's, grandpa


Wendy Seames Garner
Wendy Seames Garner

Lapeer, MI

I believe that every person we meet, every thing we touch has a story. more..