Green River Star -

By David Martin

A few minor Christmas Day traditions


It’s hard for me to single out one Christmas that somehow stands above all others in terms of memorable events.

I’ve had a lot of great Christmases. My younger years focusing on “the haul” coming from family and Santa Claus, while the Christmas celebrations as I got older focused more on the gathering of friends and family, but no single Christmas stands out as the ultimate Christmas in my mind. Instead, there are a few things that crop up during multiple celebrations that have come to define Christmas.

The early morning wake-up call: I’m certain this isn’t just true for my parents, but it seems the only day of the year when it’s guaranteed children will wake up early just happens to be the day after Santa Claus makes his visit. My sister and I were particularly bad, sneaking into the living room at certain points throughout the night to check and see if he showed up. The moment the gifts from Santa Claus were found, we would turn on the lights, wake up our parents and start the Christmas morning well before the sun started coming up. It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned why my parents looked so dead tired those mornings. Still, how my mom was able to start making Christmas dinner after such little sleep still boggles my mind.

Twenty four hours of “A Christmas Story:” I’m not sure if it’s still broadcast like this, but I remember the background noise to our some early morning gift exchanges coming from TNT’s 24-hour broadcast of “A Christmas Story.” As a result, little Ralphie Parker’s quest for his Red Ryder BB gun is seared into my memory.

It made perfect viewing on a day when television offerings are slim. For whatever reason, Christmas day channel surfing always ended up at Parker’s pink, bunny-covered feet.

“Oh hey! Ralphie’s beating the tar out of that bully again!”

Then, for the next four hours or so, our TV would again show the Parker Family Christmas leading up to their dinner of “Chinese turkey.”

I always figured the 24 hours of “A Christmas Story” came from someone at the television station not wanting to be there during the holiday and convinced their boss that a 24-hour broadcast was a good idea. Probably not, but I like to think that’s what happened.

Holiday rolls: Turkey, ham and prime rib I’ve noticed tend to be the main events for Christmas dinner. Not for me. My family has a recipe for rolls that are the main event of any holiday dinner – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. They’re labor intensive for sure, requiring a baker to knead and raise the dough multiple times before the dough is ready to bake. But the taste of the soft, warm bread as it mixes with the melted butter is something that I’ll always associate with Christmas gatherings.


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