Every Christmas, Grandma would buy the girls in the family new dresses. She bought them at a store called Carousel on Atlantic (in the same shopping center as the IHOP). Mom says the dresses were pricey, maybe $50 each. That was a lot in the 80s. It’s still a lot now, especially if one is buying dresses for four granddaughters.
This Christmas will be the 10th without Grandma. For a long time after her passing in January 2000, I was ambivalent towards Christmas as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were the last days I saw Grandpa and Grandma, respectively, alive.
I’ve come around on Christmas but still miss Grandma and Grandpa. That feeling doesn’t go away.
One year, my mom’s extended family rented a cabin in Big Bear. We spent Christmas Eve there (complete with a visit from Santa — er, tío Pancho) and opened up all kinds of cool gifts like an Etch-A-Sketch® and Rainbow Brite. The best gifts were waiting for us at home beside the fireplace.
There, we found two bicycles, one black and one pink (with a basket!). I was amazed and convinced that Santa brought the bikes while we were in the mountains.
That night, Danny and I rode our bikes down the block and back to test them out.
My family typically hosts the Nochebuena celebration at our home in Hacienda Heights. We’ve been doing this since at least 1983.
I love the expessions on my Madrina Chilo’s (holding the mug) and tía Eva’s faces. They look beautiful. My Madrina Chilo sort of reminds me of a Mexican actress from la época de oro. Also in the photo: my cousin Patty (holding the toy guitar), an unidentified girl, and Mamá Toni in the middle.
I went home this weekend partly out of necessity (brother’s birthday, laundry) and partly out of a simple desire to be around my parents, siblings, grandparents and VR (the dog). Plus, I was jealous of my sister’s texts and Facebook updates about the fire going in our fireplace.
Home feels like Christmas. The tree is up and decorated with lights, ornaments and some Christmas cards. The nacimiento (sans baby Jesus, of course) is in its place, but this year isn’t surrounded by the elaborate Santa’s village. Dad strung up the lights on Saturday and put up our stockings. There’s a wreath on the door. Two Christmas lists made by Adrian and Lori are on the fridge. And of course, we watched a Christmas movie (Four Christmases).
I don’t decorate my apartment much. I’m not even sure where I’ve placed my mini Christmas tree. Thus, I’ll decorate my blog with pictures of Christmas past.
(Sidenote: judging from Hollywood movies, I’d assume that all white people dread spending time with their families during the holidays.)
Happy 31st birthday, Danny!