In my country childhood, we had many Christmas traditions: the fun and adventure of cutting down a tree from our ranch, hilarious Christmas programs at the church and school, and fun-filled Christmas caroling around our small town. Our family dominated this holiday’s focus.
My dad’s parents lived in the same town, so most Christmas Eve’s were spent at their house with family. See what a traditional Christmas Eve looked like at the Horner’s house!
Christmas at the Horner’s
It was a big affair, especially when Granddad got all sixteen grandchildren together. That meant a holiday house full.
Each year, my Christmas outfit was always special. One year a white dress with a gathered skirt, trimmed in red, made by Mom.
Grandma, decked out in her festive apron, worried over the meal. She made the best mashed potatoes, smothered in butter. Granddad’s job came after dinner.
The table was set on the porch so we could all fit, a long line of smiles and laughter.
For those of us who knew the tradition, anticipation set in. We tried to hurry the process, with no success.
Finally after a leisurely cup of coffee and a cigarette, Granddad would disappear to the front door.
His shout rang through the whole house! It had begun.
“I just saw Santa Claus fly over. Come quick.”
We’d race to the front door, and he would race to the back door.
“No, no he’s out here now. Come this way.”
We’d race to the back door. This would go on for what seemed like eternity, and I never did see Santa, a reindeer, or his sleigh. I was always a second too late! But this also meant that it was time to open our gifts that had mysteriously spilled out from under the Christmas tree.
A traditional Christmas with the Horner’s meant cousins, aunts and uncles, sometimes great aunts from Tulsa, Oklahoma, good food, lots of laughter, and traditions that filled my heart with joy and family connection!
Larada Horner-Miller is a poet, essayist and accomplished multi-genre author who holds a bachelor’s degree in English, with a minor in Spanish and a master of education degree in Integrating Technology into the Classroom. She is the accomplished author of six award-winning biographies, historical fiction, memoir, and poetry works plus three self-published cookbooks.
Her sixth book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, is available in paperback and four e-book formats. Larada offers the reader the opportunity to look back at 2020 and the global pandemic through her prose and poetry through reading, then reflecting and responding. She addresses all the emotions she felt during this overwhelming time and leads the reader through to a self-access: bitter or better?
Her fifth book is the authorized memoir and biography of world-renown square dance caller Marshall “Flip” Flippo. Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo is available now in hardback, paperback and four e-book formats. Recently Just Another Square Dance Caller won two awards: Book Excellence Awards Finalist and Silver award for eLit. Book Awards.
Another recent book of hers, A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter's Grief Memoir has won many awards including being a 2018 Book Excellence Awards Finalist in the Memoir category at the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and a 2018 Independent Press Distinguished Favorites Award in the Memoir category. Horner-Miller has also been a past national presenter at the Women Writing the West Conference and is currently the creator of Memoir Workshops for others who want to share their family’s legacies through words.
Larada and her husband, Lin, enjoy being nestled in the mountains above Albuquerque, New Mexico, near the village of Tijeras. When not writing books, this passionate, energetic, and enthusiastic woman loves to spend time kicking up her heels at square dancing gatherings, traveling, knitting, and reading.
As co-manager of her family’s southeastern Colorado ranch, she enjoys spending time exploring her family’s historic ranch and reminiscing with her brother and his children about their mom, dad, and granddad.
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2 thoughts on “What are Your Christmas Traditions?”
Growing up my father would read “The Night Before Christmas” to my twin sister and me. My older sister always insists we get a live tree that reached to the ceiling. In fact we bought our tree today. It is just myself and my two sisters now. My mother would clean the entire house and put up the wreathes in the windows and two vases filled with Christmas artificial flowers. We opened our presents on Christmas morning. We have cocoa on Christmas Eve. We would leave out cookies for Santa. He always left a note. When we were older we realized it was our father’s handwriting. We always seemed to get a lot of great gifts. I enjoyed reading your family’s traditions. Wishing you and yours a Blessed Christmas and a Happy,peaceful 2019.
What great memories. Thanks for sharing them. Merry Christmas to you!