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For a long time we would go over to my Mother's mother's house for Christmas Eve, have dinner and open a few presents. This was mainly in my earlier childhood up until around the 5th or 6th grade.
After that we had Christmas Eve dinner at our own house. We would always get up to open presents at around 4 am and eat Hillshire sausage, crackers and cheese until around 8 then we would get ready to go to my dad's parents house and have Christmas lunch/dinner.
We did the latter until my grandfather died then we tried one more year but my grandmother couldn't do it anymore after that. The subsequent years we would have smaller get togethers at her house but she gradually lost her memory and now she's in a nursing home.
While I was in school we would always do "special" things too once the holiday started. One year we went to a Christmas light show, then another particularly memorable year we went to a planetarium and they had something about Christmas and Jesus. It was actually really good though.
We would almost always eat at the Outback after whatever we did.
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Once my grandfather died my dad lost a lot of drive to do anything and ever since then my Christmases have been a depressing, horrible mess. This year was no doubt the worst.
I was very lucky to have a functional and good childhood. My family has gone to shit now and have been that way for a 5-6 years. We had to foreclose the house I grew up on and now we rent a little shithole in the sticks with no central heating. Parents don't work, sister lives here with her kids, barely a pot to piss in and I just know they aren't going to have the great Christmases I did.
That makes me sad. We'll never have as much money as we did growing up and their dad is a worthless shithead alcoholic who won't child support.
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chocolate oranges at the bottom of our stockings. cats sleeping under the christmas tree. taking off my glasses and looking at the lit-up christmas tree was like a instant, huge kaleidoscope due to my awful vision.
my mom didn't get a lot of things right but she really knew how to make holidays feel cozy and special.