1. When I was a kid, our Christmas music of choice was a Perry Como record called Season's Greetings from Perry Como. That's how I learned all the carols -- well, that and Catlick school.
2. When I was 16 or so, my Pop developed pericarditis and spent Christmas in the hospital. As is typical for my family, he waited until he couldn't stand the pain anymore and then suggested to my mother that he might need to go to the emergency room. We all piled into his room with his presents, but it just didn't seem like Christmas without him at home.
3. My Mom always made seafoam candy for our apres-midnight Mass breakfast. Maybe I'll try that someday! We also used to pull taffy, but I'm not nearly brave enough to try taffy.
4. One year when I was in college we almost had a Yuletide disaster. As we opened the front door upon arriving home from midnight Mass, our big old cat Mr. Barney shot out the door. We were quite surprised by this behavior, because Barney generally moved slowly, if at all. As we went into the family room, we found out why. Barney had pulled the Christmas tree over, and the nice hot lights -- which we neglected to turn off when we left -- were busy charring the carpet.
5. Mr. Barney got into trouble another year when he decided to perform some quality assurance on the turkey. Luckily, the damage was minimal.
6. One recent year, SonnyeBoy had to work on Christmas Day. Joe and I drove down to Ocean City on the day and had quite a nice afternoon opening presents with him. We decided to have a real Christmas dinner the next day (his day off) when we could relax and take out time. On our way back to the beach house, Joe and I tried to find an open restaurant. HAH! We ended up with subs from WaWa. They were delicious.
7. Joe gave me quite a fright one year on Christmas Eve. I came down stairs to breakfast and he was sitting at the kitchen table, looking like he was in pain. "Are you okay?" I asked intelligently. (Isn't that what everyone asks, when it's quite clear that the person is not okay?) "No, I have a really bad pain," he replied. He went to lie down, thinking it might be gas. I went up to check on him a little later, and he was literally writhing around on the bed moaning. That was that -- off to the ER we went. It turned out to be kidney stone, which eventually moved enough that the pain went away and he was sent on home. He passed the stone on Christmas Day. Happy holiday!
8. When I was in seventh grade, we all had to get up in front of the class and sing a Christmas carol. The other kids sang in groups and did festive numbers like "Deck the Halls" -- I sang alone, choosing "The Little Drummer Boy." Geez, I was a serious kid.
9. The tree was never complete without candy canes. I still put them on our trees, even on the wee two-foot Target tree we've had for the last couple years.
10. My Mom faithfully took us to see Santa Claus every year. Here's a photo of me, at age 5, with a particularly pervy looking Santa!