From 1974 until 1988, my extended Stevens family had a tradition of reading "The Night Before Christmas" on every Christmas Eve. After we participated in what could best be described as a constant ripping and opening "gift orgy," we capped the night with the classic Christmas tale.
A total of 15 Stevens family members attended Christmas Eve during the stretch from '74 and '88, and each one read the book, starting with the oldest.
So my Grandpa Stevens read first when I was only 15 months old. I am the youngest of those 15 Stevens, so I read last in 1988 when I was a sophomore in high school.
I am not sure everyone feels this way. But for me, looking back, I had such comfort, excitement and good feelings during the holidays and on Christmas and Christmas Eve.
After we had Christmas Eve at my parents' house at 9911 Garfield Drive, Garfield Heights, Ohio, we opened presents on Christmas morning. We then had Christmas day at my maternal grandparents in Slavic Village, then Christmas evening at my paternal grandparents on Edgepark Drive in Garfield.
Only 11 of the original Stevens 15 remain, and despite conventional wisdom, the Stevens family is mortal. I am flooded with good memories from the great times the 15 of us shared during the holidays and engaged in our gift orgies.
I venture to say that all of us 11 - Uncle Ed, Sally, Ed Jr., Jen, Uncle Bob, Aunt Lynda, Rob, Melissa, my mom, Fred Jr. and me - share similar memories. We are adapting to our new lives, and if I ever truly need to hear "The Night Before Christmas," I will click on the video below.