Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Traditions

When I was young, Christmas was so magical.  I loved the lights on the tree, the visits with Santa, the snow falling, the fires in the fireplace.  Listening to John Denver and The Muppets sing The 12 Days of Christmas on the record player (I was always Miss Piggie in my imagination...bah dum dum dum) and sneaking molasses candy wrapped in wax paper.

I loved when my Grandparents would come to visit and the packages beneath the tree would triple.  Counting each gift to be sure that I had as many as my brothers and sister.  Wondering what each package held and what was on Santa's Sleigh.

Christmas Eve was a big night at my house.  My Grandparents and often Great-Grandmother would come to visit.  With 5 children and 5 adults opening gifts, we started on Christmas Eve.  We would first act out the Nativity, I was usually Mary as my older sister graciously would be the Angel.  After singing and acting out the Nativity, we would excitedly take our seats in the family room.
What's that? Mary didn't lift up her nightgown and have Baby Jesus fall out?
With the fire blazing, one lucky kiddo got to be "Santa" and pass out the gifts.  We would then take turns opening presents, youngest to oldest, one at a time.  My oldest brother would somehow always end up squirreling away gifts so he always had more to open at the end because he skipped his turns.  We loved opening our treasures of clothes (lots handmade by Grandma), toys, gadgets and candies.

Exhausted, we would stumble to bed, sometimes in our own beds but more often than not, we would all cram into one room and whisper the night away.  I remember my older sister and brother, who always got to stay up later, coming in and getting us to play the quiet game so we could fall asleep.

Christmas morning would come and my little brother and I were inevitably the first ones up.  We would run into the living room and see the tree all lit up with new gifts under it's boughs.  We would then run into my parent's room and tell them excitedly that Santa had come.  My Mom would get up (the only time of the year she got up before the sun) and with her Tab in hand, get her cinnamon rolls in the oven.
Santa always hid stockings at our house, so while we waited for the big kids to get up, we two little ones would search for our stockings.  When everyone was awake we would open our stockings and gifts from Santa (and Mrs. Claus).  Then we would feast on homemade cinnamon rolls, Christmas morning casserole and wassail left over from the night before.

Christmas was always so magic for me. Steeped in tradition, I couldn't imagine a Christmas in a different way.  Anything not happening the way I knew it and grew up with just wasn't right.

When Jeremy and I got married I insisted we keep things the way my family had always done them.  He couldn't remember any traditions his family had, so I just instituted mine.  In the last 10 years our Christmas traditions have morphed and changed and I am sure they will continue to do so as the years go by.  Some of the traditions of my childhood we have kept (smoked turkey and wassail on Christmas Eve as well as doing the Nativity), others we have changed.

We are helping our children make their own memories, their own traditions that they will then want to pass down to their children.  I just hope they remember their Christmases with as much joy as I do.
What are some of your Christmas traditions? How have they changed from when you were a child to now?
This is my final post in a series of posts for Hallmark.  I have been helping them celebrate and get the word out about their campaign, Life is a Special Occasion for the last few months.  I have been so honored to have been asked to do this for them, and have truly loved every writing prompt they have given me.

Be sure to sign up for their emails to get great deals and fabulous ideas for crafts, activities and ways to celebrate the special everyday moments in your life.

While I was compensated for this post, the words are all mine and can not be bought.

No comments: