Christmas Traditions

23 Dec

Since my family and I moved to StL in 1993, it’s pretty much been just the four of us for Christmas each year. My aunts, uncles and cousins are literally spread out coast to coast, and apart from my Gram and Poppy coming for the holiday, it was just us.

That’s left us plenty of time to develop our own holiday traditions…

* Christmas Lights. No, no, not the ones which decorate my parents house, but others. The ones that parks put up or driving through neighborhoods who are known to have “crazy” decorations. We get my dad’s car all warm and cozy, pile in, listen to the Christmas music and off we go. The last few years its been Christmas Eve that we meander through the Christmas Splendor.

* A Christmas Carol. It’s much harder to do now that I live on my own and my brother lives on campus, but up until probably three years ago, we would start reading the classic by Charles Dickens as a family. Each night, after dinner, we’d gather in the fireplace room and take turns (nightly) reading the book. Our goal was to finish it by Christmas Eve each year. We made it most of the time.

* Advent Calendars. Darling gives them to me and my brother. I display mine in the kitchen, though I admit to occasionally forgetting to open a few days, it’s a happy reminder of the upcoming family time, presents and etc.

* A Christmas Story. My Gram hates this movie, she thinks the kid is really whiny. Maybe he is, but I love the movie. It represents Christmas Eve to me, the hideous leg lamp, the dogs who eat the turkeys, the whole deal. It’s wildly humorous and strangely comforting to me.

* One Present. For as long as I can remember we open one present each before we go to bed on Christmas Eve. It’s not anything big, but always something unexpected, cute and delightful.

* Church. We don’t always go. We’re definitely a family who goes mostly on holidays, and we do our own religious thing in between, whatever that may be. I’ve come to expect the tradition of us debating if we can make it due to weather, schedules, etc. As I type this I feel terrible for saying we don’t always make it due to weather or other problems. If we don’t go to Church, we read the appropriate passages from The Bible.

* Dogs. I grew up with my parents telling us that our family dogs spoke to them (my parents) every midnight. I have no clue how/why this got started as something that happened, but I believed them. And to this day, I’m foolish in thinking maybe this is the year Jack will turn to me and talk. Haha, yeah, right.

* Wrapping Presents. My dad is one of the most ambitious present wrappers I know, though this doesn’t mean he is good at it. I help him out every year for a few hours, coming up with clever “From” Names, and making the presents jazzy. This is our chance to catch up outside of the office. I look forward to it every year. And I enjoy knowing some of the secrets, too!

* Christmas Eve Dinner. My parents have seafood and pasta; I normally get some type of filet and pasta and this year my brother will eat just the pasta I suppose. The house always smells wonderful and it’s a kick-off to our Christmas en famille.

* Stockings. Santa. Christmas Morning. Before my brother and I can go downstairs to the Christmas Tree room, we must open our stockings. My brother traditionally wakes me up, we sit on my bed slightly bleary-eyed going through the stocking finding things such as chocolate gold coins, oranges, magazines and other odds/ends. Then we wake up my parents, who even though my brother and I are older, still do not wrap most of the presents until 4am on Christmas morning and then take them down to the tree (which I think is the more fun way to do it), so are inevitably sleepy. My parents make coffee, turn on the Christmas music, and my brother and I wait, 25 and 20 respectively, at the top of the stairs acting like the 12-year olds we feel like inside. Then we can go downstairs. If we go downstairs a moment earlier, the “presents disappear.” (That’s what we were taught.) My mother takes our pictures as we see the Christmas Tree room. One by one, we open the presents. We take turns. It’s more fun that way.

All of this sums up our traditions, our values and what I’ll be up to the next few days. I can’t wait!

What are a few of your holiday traditions? Big travels and family plans for the next few days?


3 Responses to “Christmas Traditions”

  1. anne December 24, 2008 at 12:44 am #

    Thanks for sharing the traditions… you have such an amazing family.
    Merry Christmas !

  2. oh December 24, 2008 at 7:26 am #

    My traditions are yours, and here’s to coming up with some new ones to add to the list this year – MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

  3. Nova December 24, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    It’s your first Christmas with TDH!

    Here’s to making new Christmas traditions. ;-)

    All the best to you and your family this Christmas.


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