As Christmas Eve approaches I can’t help but think of past Christmas Eves. As I young child I can remember laying in my bed upstairs on Christmas Eve and hearing my parents busy downstairs. I never knew what they were up to until Christmas morning but I could hear them until late into the evening. My Mom and Dad were usually busy assembling something for under the tree or putting on the finishing touches on something they had made.
My Mom and Dad have always made a gift for one of us six kids and worked very late into the night to put on the finishing touches. After I was grown and had children, I got a glimpse of what their Christmas Eves were like.
We spent Christmas eve with my husband’s family in our town and then loaded up our kids usually around 10 pm and drove 2 hours to my Mom and Dad’s home in the Twin Cities. We would carry our sleeping children into Mom and Dad’s house and put them to bed.
One year when we arrived my Dad was putting the finishing touches on this toy that he made for our son Curt.
The few years later when we arrived at Mom and Dad’s on Christmas Eve Dad was putting the final coat of varnish on this forklift that he made for our second son Matt.
Five years later Dad was painting this on a doll cradle that he made for my daughter Anna. He checked out books from the library to teach himself how to paint the elaborate design on the cradle.
The most elaborate project that Mom and Dad worked on together was a Barbie doll house for our daughter Christy. It was a replica of a house that we moved into when I was twelve. It was a Dutch Colonial and beautiful. Dad and my brother built the doll house and did all the exterior finishing. Mom made all the furniture and the interior decorating. I don’t have a picture tonight because that would require me to go into the attic with help and bring it in to photograph. I plan on doing an individual post on the doll house at a later date. I went to bed that evening at 3 am and the three of them were still working on it at that point.
Over the years my husband and I have spent time working various Christmas Eve projects. One year my husband decided to make a go-cart out of plumbing pipes and fittings.
One year I sewed sweatshirts for all the nieces and nephews made of Disney character fabric. Another year I made wooden nativity blocks for all the nieces, nephews and our kids. Eleven sets in all.
For many years my Christmas Eves involved finishing quilts. I made a baby quilt and presented the parents with a quilt at Christmas if they had a baby born that year. One year I made a quilt for my brother for Christmas. Another year I made a quilt for my mother-in-law that year I was still hemming it minutes before we went to their home for Christmas Eve dinner.
The latest Christmas Eve project was about eight years ago when we gave our oldest daughter a drum set for Christmas. She was in the percussion section in band. The drum set came in boxes and had to be assembled. It wasn’t that difficult but there were many pieces. I couldn’t start bringing in boxes until all of our kids went to bed. At that time they were night owls. The boys were in college and the girls were 15 and 13 and had Christmas wrapping to do so it was after 1 am before I could start assembling. It was almost 3:30 am before I was finished.
This is the first year I think I will make it to bed at a decent hour. No homemade gifts this year except a scarf that is almost finished. Something seems out-of-place, not having a last-minute project. There is still time to start one to carry on the family tradition….