and put things away. Then it was bedtime – a few hours of sleep, then back to church for Christmas Day service.
Christmas Day was also a lot of fun. We
got to eat better food – chicken soup, roast chicken, ham and sausages, roasted potatoes, salad, vegetables, home-canned cherries (my father's favourite, he ate them with everything). And for dessert, all
different kinds of cookies and cakes. After lunch, our relatives would come over to our house – my father's cousins and their children, neighbours would drop by, too. That meant more presents! In the
evening, we would visit my great-grandparents – my grandmother's parents, who lived a few blocks away. They always had a lot of candy and sweets for the children. Presents were usually things like mittens,
hats, underwear and socks, but we loved being with them.
Another day of too much good food, presents, the company of family and friends, enjoying all the Christmas trees, playing with our gifts and, finally, bed and
sleep and sweet dreams. The day after Christmas was Jan's name day. Since both my grandfather and father were named Jan, that meant visits from relatives again – more eating and drinking. But we kids
were happy to play together, with our toys or watch Christmas programs on TV (like the Little Drummer Boy and How the Grinch Stole Christmas). If it wasn't too cold, we'd go out and play in the snow, making
snowmen, having snowball fights, then coming in to warm up with cocoa and cookies, and sit by the tree.
So Christmas was really a 3-day celebration. It seemed like there were weeks of preparation and work, then
celebration and fun with family, then more than a week off school, playing with our friends and our Christmas toys. It was always a very special time of year, not just for the children, but for the adults, too