Christmas was a two day affair when I was a kid. On Christmas Eve we would gather at Fourth Street and spend quality time playing with my cousins. My Grandmother observed all the Polish traditions of Wigilia (Christmas Eve) and dinner was very simple, Borscht and fish. However there was no dairy products, no sour cream for the borscht, no butter for bread. I was always hungry on this day, since I was afraid of the soup and had no interest in the fish. In retrospect I was not very smart.
My Grandmother would lead us in prayer in Polish and invoke every relative living and dead. Over the years the prayer got longer and longer. Later we would would break the opłatek (Christmas Wafer ) and wish each other luck and joy in the coming year. We still follow that tradition in our family.
After dinner we would sing Christmas Carols around the piano, play with each other and later get presents from Aunts and Uncles. It was the best of times.
Christmas Eve 1949