PLATTSBURGH — At a young age, Rachael Osborne had an affinity for office supplies.
Her Christmas lists to Santa included such items as paper clips, index cards, markers and paper of all varieties. In a memorable home video, she shrieks with joy when she finds that Santa has brought her construction paper.
Aside from that, the most memorable gift Osborne found under the tree was a three-story Barbie Dreamhouse, complete with an elevator and tiny toy furniture, to be shared with her younger sister, Diana.
Really, what made the holidays most special was being able to spend it with family, said Osborne, who is features editor at the Press-Republican. Because the AuSable Forks native grew up sharing a house with her grandparents, family gatherings were centered there for the holidays — and with 14 cousins alone, many of whom were about the same age, Christmas Eve was full of fun and food.
Christmas brunches always featured eggs, home fries, homemade toast and ham cooked in real maple syrup. Most memorable, though, was the giant tray of fruit that her grandfather, Paul Maicus, built each year.
“My sister and I would run down the stairs each Christmas to find a huge platter stacked at least a foot high with whole grapefruit, bananas, limes, apples, grapes — any fruit you could think of,” Osborne said. “It’s a tradition that started with my great-great-grandparents and one that I will continue someday.”
Christmas morning lasted year ‘round when Robin Caudell was a child, growing up in Preston, Md.
Her mom, Edna Butler, would hide gifts as she bought them so her daughter wouldn’t see them before the big day. And sometimes, Caudell said, Edna forgot where she had put them.
”I invariably found them in June, July, August ...,” she said, laughing.