Christmas Eve: The Way It Used To Be

I woke up this morning and was gifted with a few minutes to lay in bed and let my mind wander. I went back in time to when I was a kid and remembered how Christmas Eve used to go. It usually started around 4:30 in the afternoon. There would be a knock at the door and it would be one of our neighbors with a bottle of booze who dropped by to spread some Christmas cheer.

My Mom would usually start early on December 23th putting together appetizers because she was always known as the one in the neighborhood who could cook. The neighbors would come in and have a few drinks eat a few appetizers and then stagger off to the next house. This would continue until around 8 o’clock when my Dad would have to be propped up at the table to eat and my Mom who was smart enough to switch from gin and tonics to just tonic after the first 3 or 4 could put the meal together.

Back in those times if the cops pulled you over and asked if you’d been drinking you could say “yes, but I’ve only had a couple of drinks” which really meant 8-10 and they’d wave you on or tell you to go straight home. We knew all our neighbors back then so we had lots of knocks at the door and I think our liquor cabinet was stocked for the rest of the year. I was probably one of the few 10 year olds who could bartend and every one thought it was cute. I liked it because one year someone grabbed a brandy snifter and put a $5 bill in it which was my first tip jar.

The next morning was a little rougher for all except myself. My Grandmother was built of steel so she could pound back 4 Manhattans and wake up and wash all the dishes from the night before. Ah, the good ole days. My family never had to go a wandering so to speak on Christmas as it always came to us.

Well, times have changed and I doubt we’ll have any knocking on our door as the only people we know in the same neighborhood now are our new neighbors next door that we might have a drink with or at least say Merry Christmas to and our other neighbors who are Orthodox Jews and Hanukah’s over so they don’t really care. The only tradition left is that I like to crack a bottle of good scotch or small batch bourbon like Knob Creek, but I won’t be swilling them back until I can’t remember what I did tonight. I’ll leave those days to my parents who are gone now, but I’ll definitely raise a glass to their memory.

So to all my friends, be nice to your liver over the holidays and be healthy so we can do it again next year!

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