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Best things: Holiday traditions with family
Onlee West - photo by Photo provided.
Rachel Hawkins’ grandmother, Onlee West, 87, is made queen for a day each December. Her family of between 60-70 coastal Georgia residents makes the Hinesville native the center of attention at their annual Christmas party.
“It’s a time that grandma really enjoys,” Hawkins said. “We let her open her presents from her children and grandchildren. We want to see the joy on her face.”
The Coastal Manor resident often reminisces about life during the Great Depression, yet her holiday memories are not sad, her granddaughter said.
West listed her favorite things in ascending order, including what she loves most at Christmas.
1. Black coffee
2. Snuff
3. During The Depression, West’s favorite gift was a stocking filled with an orange, a banana, nuts and candy, Hawkins said. An orange was a rare treat because most people could not afford to buy oranges during the year, West’s granddaughter explained.
4. The family Christmas party. “Santa comes to visit,” Hawkins said. “We will make her a paper tree and have everyone sign it. And she’ll get to hang that on her door at the nursing home.”
5. Family. West has five children, 15 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Hawkins said family members take turns hosting her grandmother for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. “That way she gets to open some of her presents on Christmas morning and eat Christmas dinner with family,” she said.
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