Here is another essay I wrote and recorded as part of The GrantCast. The audio is below. If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast you can do so in iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher. Thanks for reading.
By Grant Baciocco
As a kid, I used to get way too excited for Christmas. Actually, if you know me, I still get way too excited for Christmas (hello, Advent Calendar). But this all started for me, as a little kid. As said in the movie A Christmas Story:
“Lovely, beautiful, glorious Christmas, around which the entire kid year revolved.”
I think part of the reason Christmas is such a big deal to me is because my mom and dad made it a big deal. Heck, they still do. They started traditions that still carry through to this day. One of those traditions is new pajamas.
Actually, it was my Grandma Donny, my mom’s mom, that started that tradition. She would send down presents every year, or we’d bring them back with us from Thanksgiving. We’d get to open one present on Christmas Eve, sort of a sneak preview of what was to come the next morning. We were never allowed to pick the present we opened and it took me several years to realize that the present was always from Grandma Donny and it was always pajamas. It took me several more years to realize the reason it was pajamas was so that we looked nice in pictures on Christmas morning! No ratty old pajamas were allowed!
The fatal flaw here was that as a kid, I used to get so excited about things, so worked up and nervous, I would make myself sick and throw up! There were several Christmas mornings where I wasn’t able to make it down the hall to the presents. I got myself so excited, I’d barf all over the place and usually over my new pajamas. In later years, my parents would wait to make me wear the new pajamas until they were sure I wasn’t gonna blow chunks. Luckily I have grown out of this habit. I haven’t barfed on Christmas in at least, two or three years.
Another tradition that we had starting at a very young age is that on Christmas morning, my great grandmother, Noni and my great aunt, Auntie Dorothy would drive down from San Francisco to be there as we opened presents. It would go like this, I would wake up first, early, usually around 6 am because I was so excited and I’d get my parents up. They would call Auntie Dorothy and Noni and they would get up and drive the 20 minutes or so to San Bruno (or later Burlingame) to join us. Now this did nothing to help calm my excitement! I’d have to wait, patiently, in my room as they made their way down the peninsula from San Francisco. And Noni was an older lady so it took her a little longer to get moving! I’m actually sure they got down to our place as fast as they could but when you’re little and you know there’s presents out in the living room for you under the tree, every minute is an hour.
I would wait patiently in my bedroom, a bundle of nerves until I heard our front door open and I heard the exchanges of “Good Mornings” and “Merry Christmases” being made. They were here! It was time to open presents right? Wrong!
“Can we open presents now?” I’d yell down the hallway
“Not yet.” my mother would reply. “We have to make the coffee.”
Make the coffee?! “Why did’n’t you make the coffee while they were driving down?!”
My parents were literally trying to torture me. No wonder I barfed all over the place.
©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media