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A Crusty Old Expat’s Christmas Past

A Crusty Old Expat’s Christmas Past

Once upon a time there was a crusty old expat that had retired to the Philippines. The timeworn goat married a beautiful Filipina 13 years his junior. They had no children though most Filipinos asked them if they did. When we replied “no” they asked “why not?”

The Most Famous Puppy of All

People say Christmas is for kids. So if we don’t have any children, does that mean we shouldn’t celebrate the Birth of Jesus? Of course not.

However, we do have eight pups but only “Killer,” our Belgian Malinois Shepherd, is big enough to pull Santa’s sleigh.

Killer Santa

“Killer” Santa

And then there’s “Patchy” and “Princey” and “Bandit,

“Cindy” and “Ella” and “Priscella,”

But do you know the most famous puppy of all?

“Squeak Squeak” the Crusty Old Expat’s favorite.

Santa Squeak

Santa Squeak Squeak

A Crusty Old Expat’s Christmas Past

In ancient times, the Fifties and early Sixties, my two brothers and I would spend Christmas Eve at our Zion Lutheran Church back in Mt. Olive, Illinois.

My parents would sing in the choir along with my Grandma and Grandpa, and uncle. Our aunt was the Choir Director and Lead Organist.

Grandpa would sneak out during a Choir break and spread out our presents underneath the Christmas tree. Our Grandfather would then head back to church and work his way back into the choir undetected by my two younger brothers and I.

We were told Santa Claus made his deliveries on Christmas Eve in our part of the world.

We never suspected Grandpa was doing Santa’s undercover work until years later.

My brothers and I were distracted by visions of candy, nuts and oranges in our head. Every Christmas Eve brown paper sacks filled to the brim with goodies were passed out to all the children in attendance at church.

Oh, what a delight it was to head out into the cold, brisk night clutching a bag of candy and nuts in our bulky mittens!

Underwear and Socks from Grandma and Grandpa

After arriving home from church on Christmas Eve, my brothers and I were delighted to see a myriad of Christmas gifts under the tree.

What a night! The bag of goodies from church and Christmas presents. It was like Halloween, Easter and my birthday all rolled into one times ten!

The only downside to the whole evening were the packages of underwear and socks we always received from Grandma and Grandpa. Sure, we had to have clean underwear in case we ever got into an accident and had to go to the hospital, but no toys? Come on!

Thankfully, our parents relayed our Christmas lists to Santa and his elves over at the North Pole. We received toys and games that we had requested which more than made up for the underwear and socks.

The Christmas Eve Feast

While I suppose many families opened their gifts on Christmas morning, our tradition was to open our loot on Christmas Eve. My brothers and I had no problem with this. We had been waiting for months for this day starting our countdown right after Halloween.

Once Thanksgiving arrived, we knew Christmas was fast approaching. We counted each day as it sluggishly crawled by on the calendar.

The Christmas Eve Feast consisted of homemade BBQ sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans and hot dogs smothered in sauerkraut and mustard. My Father’s side of the family were German.

Christmas Dinner featured the big ham, a meal almost rivaling the Thanksgiving Day Feast.

“A Crusty Old Expat’s Christmas Past.” Fond memories of days gone by.