As always, I am a little late or a little early (could be if you look at it as preparing for next year). Anyway, my maternal side seems to be getting the majority of the attention in my advent calendar, so I decided to speak, or write of a tradition in our family that began with my family before I was even born I believe. You see, he didn't grow up in a family full of decorations and presents to the ceiling as we live these days. He, as many born in the 1920's grew up in the Great Depression. I tend to divide those families in my lines as the haves and the have nots, and he definitely fell into the latter.
My father reads the book, "Twas The Night Before Christmas", not the night BEFORE Christmas, but ON Christmas morning!!! He gets out this red velvet dressing jacket that belonged in Dean Martin's closet, puts it on, marches out the front door no matter what the weather, and with a pipe in his mouth he brings out once a month since he doesn't smoke, paces outside the house until all the children have arrived for the day.
As soon as the presents are laid around the tree, hugs are exchanged, and glasses of my mother's home made spiced tea are passed to all, we gather around my father as he starts the story so famous to us all. Everyone joins in unison, laughs when we miss, camera bulbs flash, and the children around him have changed through the years from his own to grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren, but it is a moment we all treasure. No one questions that we read this after Santa has come or that we have already listened to the radio announements throughout the night as Santa crosses the world, but it is a moment as dear as any first Christmas could be witnessed- a moment to treasure the man who treasures his family above all.
Now, next year I'll tell you about the barb-b-que ribs & garlic bread & the spaghetti and meatballs.