My holiday traditions were a little different then everyone else’s when I was growing up. Every Christmas Eve my family went to the evening church service and/or went to go look at Christmas lights around town. My dad would take us on a tour of all his favorite themed light streets and my sister and I would count the minutes until we could go back home. “Why?” you ask. Because we were special. That’s right, Santa was so overanxious to give us our gifts, that he would wait until we were out of our house to come snuggle those beautiful presents under our tree. As soon as we got in the house, we would launch downstairs to see if Santa had come to visit us.
Of course he had, and the next hour or so was spent in a flurry of glossy wrapping paper and ecstatic shrieks of joy. After we opened our presents we would usually have some snacks and hot chocolate and stay up late watching a movie. (More likely than not, A Muppets Family Christmas, which my family knows all the words to. Much to my husbands chagrin.) Occasionally, when my sister was little, my dad and I would go to the late night candlelight service at church. We would go to bed and sleep in on Christmas morning, then usually do Christmas dinner at home or a nearby relative’s house. In hindsight, this was a serious planning win on my parents’ part, because we crashed hard from our sugar/present high and usually slept in pretty good on Christmas morning.
Now that I have my own children, my husband and I are trying to incorporate both of our separate sets of traditions into some conglomeration of a tradition for our own kids. I am adamant about doing gift opening on Christmas Eve., especially this year as I will be hosting Christmas dinner at our house, because I always thought that made our family special when I was growing up. We are slowly but surely beginning to morph our families’ way of doing things into one.
I love seeing my kids’ faces when they experience the awesomeness of Christmas. It isn’t just the gifts, or the food, but the chance to spend time together and make memories. Whenever I think of Christmases past, my memories have a sort of happy hazy glow around them, and this feeling of comfort and joy is what I most wish to pass on to my children through my traditions.
By Rochelle Lund