Growing up we celebrated Christmas and no matter what was going on in my parent’s world they always managed to make it special for us. They didn’t make it special by giving us everything we wanted (and I am sure asked for). They made it special with traditions, little things that we looked forward to each year.
I can still remember the sound of the scratchy “Jiminie the Christmas Tree” record we would play on my parents old record player (over and over). The sound of the needle skips etched into my heart as I think about listening to it with my sisters. I remember riding around town in our tan Buick station wagon looking at all of the Christmas lights with wonder and joy. I remember my mother’s wooden candle holder with pine scented taper candles that my sisters and I fought over who would set it up each year. I remember all of the crocheted mailbox ornaments from my grandmother, each with the year they were made crocheted into them and how carefully we placed them on our tree. I remember. I remember so many things. Little details that created the magic of Christmas for me as a child. Looking back I know there were times when money was tight for my parents (four mouths to feed and butts to keep clothed) but my parents never let on and we always had a wonderful Christmas. Sure there was the time my brother rolled down the broken window on the way to visit our relatives and it got stuck but we still laugh every christmas about driving for three hours with a garbage bag taped to the window, flapping like a jackhammer. I hope I can create traditions for my daughters now that will one day mean as much to them and bring them as much joy as my parents brought us as children.
Here are a few of the traditions we started for our girls. We dress up and attend a Christmas Eve service. We open up one present on Christmas Eve and it’s always new pajamas. We watch Christmas movies with popcorn. We make Christmas cookies and goodies and always make a huge mess. We pick out a Christmas tree and drink apple cider at Summer’s Tree Farm. We read holiday books. Bianca and I go to the Nutcracker Ballet (hoping Iyla can join us next year). We leave Santa cookies, milk and raw veggies for the reindeer. I love seeing these things evolve as the girls get older. This year they both were very excited about decorating the tree and I loved hearing Iyla’s little voice say over and over “wift me up Daddy, wift me up” so she could put another ornament on the tree. We still have crabby days and moments where everyone is on the naughty list (highlights from today include an entire container of pumpkin seeds being dumped in a store while christmas shopping! ps. I apologize to anyone shopping near us and the employees who cleaned that up). It’s not the big things you buy…it’s the little traditions that create warm memories and joy in our hearts.
What traditions do you remember from growing up? What traditions did you start with your family?