When my husband Ron and I were married 33 years ago, his family introduced me to a new way of celebrating Christmas. My mother- and father-in-law, Helma and Gerhard Holthaus, had emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1951 and it was their European custom to observe the holiday on Christmas Eve. The tree was decorated and ready, but no one would see it lit until the big night.The table would be set with the good china and silverware, candles, and a menu that consisted of potato and herring salads, Karl Ehmer cold cuts and snappy hot dogs or sometimes bratwurst, sauerkraut and potato pancakes. Dessert was a special honeycomb cake called Bienenstich.
Following dinner, Ron and I would go out with his dad to drive into Southampton Village to look at all of the decorations and see if we could spy Santa. Upon our return, St. Nick would have visited the house on Roman Road and left the tree all aglow with presents piled beneath.
After our children, Jessica and Geoffrey, were born, going to visit Omi and Opa on Christmas Eve presented a bit of a problem … Santa did not come to our home until after the kids were asleep.
You see, I wanted our kids to have the same experience that I had growing up of waking on Christmas morning to a tree filled with ornaments, lights and tinsel, surrounded by gifts.
We brought the tree into the house and had it waiting in its stand, but the rest was up to you know who. As you can well imagine, Ron and I spent many a Christmas Eve creating Santa’s magic until the wee hours of the morning.
So, our children had two Christmases to celebrate every year. One with their German Omi and Opa and another with us and their Grandma and Grandpa. It was a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
And now we can look forward to seeing Jessica and Geoffrey making their own Christmas magic. Whatever your religion or tradition, I send warm wishes out to all of my readers for a very happy holiday.
A big round of applause for Olivia Allen for her recent performance in “The Nutcracker” at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. Bravo!
The Independent Group Home Living (IGHL) Foundation for the developmentally disabled had its Christmas show last week in the St. Rosalie’s Church Community Center. Frosty and Santa were in attendance and from all appearances, a great time was had by all.
Welcome home Derek Andrews! Derek is home until January 27 and then he will be heading back across the pond for graduation on February 3 with a master’s degree from King’s College in London.
Wave goodbye to Dr. Donna Prill. Donna will be leaving the Meeting House Lane Medical Practice in Hampton Bays and heading down south to teach medicine in Georgia. I know that I speak for the entire community when I wish you all the best in your new endeavor. Good luck, Donna.
Happy birthday to Judy Wilenski! Judy’s day to shine is on Thursday, December 26. Carolyn Browne will celebrate her cake-and-candle day on Monday, December 30. And Brewster Griffing’s big day is on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, December 31.
Happy 70th birthday to Lee Allen with love from Peg and the family. Lee’s red-letter day is on Sunday, December 29.
And happy anniversary to Rita and Brewster Griffing. Rita and Brew celebrate next week on Monday, December 30.
Ninth-grader Nikki Distefano and her mom, Lauri, are holding a blood drive for Long Island Blood Services on Monday, December 30, from 1:45 until 7:45 p.m., at the Hampton Bays Public Library at 52 Ponquogue Avenue. Nikki will possibly qualify for a scholarship for this project. If you are 16 years of age (with parental consent) or older and in good health, please donate.
Friday, January 10: Hampton Bays Public Library Dinner/Theater Package to see the Hampton Theatre Company’s production of “Heroes.” The cost of $48 includes a three-course dinner at 1 North Steakhouse, tax, tip and a theater ticket. Reservations and payment are required by Monday, January 6. Call the library at (631) 728-6241.