2009-12-25 05:28:06.000 – Mike Carmon, Staff Meteorologist
Today is December 25th, and I find myself here on the summit of Mt. Washington, away from my family for the first time in 23 years!
Since I can remember, we have followed our Christmas traditions with no exceptions. Before these days of working the night shift, I used to be an early to bed/early to rise type of guy. So, on Christmas morning, I would normally be one of the first in my family to arise. Next to my bed would be a stocking that ‘Santa’ had filled to the brim and dropped off. I would turn on the television, looking for the station that was airing 24 hours of my favorite Christmas movie-A Christmas Story! With the sounds of Ralphie and his quest for an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle in the background, I would empty my stocking.
After the opening of my stocking, I would wait for the next of my family members to arise, which was almost always my mom. The two of us, definitely the most culinarily-savvy of the family, would prepare breakfast as we waited for my dad and sister to wake up. When they FINALLY did, the four of us would assemble (all still in our pajamas) in front of the tree and dole out the gifts that lay wrapped beneath it. As the years passed, I became very excited that I was able to buy my own gifts for everyone, and not have to rely on giving my father the extraneous gift that my mother bought for him, etc. We would go around and each of us would open one gift at a time until the floor was littered with wrapping paper. ‘Santa’ was always more than generous to me and my sister.
After opening gifts, we would all break to prepare for the rest of the day’s festivities. As the ladies headed for the showers, me and my father would head in to the kitchen to prepare a multiple-course Christmas dinner. After a few hours of cooking, our guests would arrive, which would be my two grandmothers. The six of us would sit and enjoy the Christmas meal during the afternoon hours. The subjects and dynamics of the conversations have definitely morphed through the years, especially as me and my sister started to move away from home. What was once a simple tradition became an enjoyable discussion about all of the things we had experienced during the past year and what we were looking forward to in the fresh new year that was only seven days away.
After dinner and the dishes, we would prepare for the next wave of guests-the rest of the extended family! Coming from quite a large Italian family, it was always a tradition that my aunts, uncles and cousins would all flood into our house on Christmas night for games and even MORE food! Family members would come and go, and by 10 or 11 p.m., Christmas Day would conclude as the last guest headed out the front door.
As I look back and realize that we’ve followed the same traditions for as long as I can remember, it’s pretty odd to think this is the first time ever that I will not be there to be a part of it all. However, I’m looking forward to a brand new experience, sharing Christmas Day with my co-workers, who have grown to be another sort of family for me.
So, Merry Christmas to all of my family back in New Jersey!
And Merry Christmas to the rest of you as well-I hope your holiday is a great one filled with traditions of your own!
Mike Carmon, Staff Meteorologist