Once Upon a Christmas


Feeling a bit on the emotional side about the Christmas season.  If I could just close my eyes and go back to way back when Christmas was a magical time, Lord knows I’d go back in a flash.  So many wonderful family memories, such a grand extended family I was blessed with!  

When we were little the winter was different than it is now, once it snowed we had snow until spring and it always seemed so much colder.

Back when we were kids we dressed up for family gatherings, skirts or dressed, tights and dress shoes!  Still make my children dress up for the holidays, kicking and screaming all the way.


My brother and my sister and I were blessed with many more cousins than our children have, we didn’t get together near as often with most of our cousins and our children do.  Christmas meant getting to see cousins we hadn’t seen but once or twice since the previous Christmas.

The first Christmas gathering was always dad’s side of the family, always the evening of the day we got out of school for Christmas break.  Waiting until it was time to leave for Grandma and Grandpa’s was like waiting for paint to dry.

The best part of the gathering was that the trio was able to get together! There are three of us girls who were born to the three brothers, we are about four months apart in age.  


It was pretty much the same every year.  We’d get to Grandma and Grandpa’s, the women would go to the kitchen to get supper ready and everyone else sat and visited, the kids played. 

When it was time to eat we went around to the various tables to find where our assigned seat was.  The guys went through the line first and sat at the dining room table, the kids went and then the women last.  Us the three girls always were assigned to sit at the kitchen table with our mothers.  The other kids all got to sit together.


After supper the guys would break out the cribbage board and play while the women went back to the kitchen and us cousins socialized and played.  Waiting for the men to take a break from playing cards seemed like FOREVER!  

After the dishes were done and the guys took a break from cards it was time to open presents.  Well…except for a number of years the family took to Christmas caroling!

Christmas caroling was something we cousins would beg to get to do and then would beg to get to be done because our feet were frozen! We would go out for pry about an hour, we’d sing three songs at each home and end with We Wish You A Merry Christmas.  We’d take as few vehicles around our little town of 625, as possible.  We had a van and we’d pile in, sitting up to two people on a person’s lap. 

When we cousins get to talking about the Christmas’ of our youth we always bring up the caroling!


(The Three Brothers)

We’d eventually get around to the gift opening.  Each year one child handed out the presents and it was always the next down in age from the child the year before.  Being one of the youngest, seemed like my year would NEVER come around.  

I so miss those days when the Petersen family was still intact and we had those magical Christmas’!


(The Three Brothers)

Mom’s side of the family was completely different.  A few less in head count when it came to cousins, instead of being one of the youngest, I was one of the oldest in this crew.

We always gathered on the afternoon of Christmas day, the adults took turns having the gathering instead of being at Gramma’s.  

We’d always meet with the time being set for dinner at 1:00.  What I remember most is wanting to eat so badly and the aunts constantly telling us kids to “Get out of the kitchen”!  We always had the best food, homemade rolls and the whole nine yards!

When we gathered at our house and there was enough snow on the ground, dad would get out one of the horses and get out the long toboggan.  Almost all of us could fit on, there was always one or two slipping off back when dad would get to going and turn a quick corner.  


Sometimes after gift giving we would be able to talk the adults into getting out the film projector so we could see the old films our later grandfather had taken when my brother and sister (the first born grandchildren) were little and my dad was in VietNam and mom and my siblings lived with mom’s folks.

Lastly and possibly the best part of the day would be when mom’s brother would grill turkey sandwiches for supper.  Must have been the love he put into those sandwiches because no one has ever been able to make them near as yummy!


This is our crew from a handful of years ago.  This is it.  They don’t have the crazy can’t wait to see you thing going on when it comes to holidays because they grew up with the family getting together on a regular basis for no reason at all.  

Wish these kiddos would be able to have the Christmas’ like we did when we were kids.  The gatherings just don’t seem as magical as they were way back when….



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