Everyone has their personal list of favorite holiday traditions. Many come from our childhood, remembering what our own families did each and every year. Some are new traditions we have started with our own nuclear families, hoping our children will carry with them the same fond memories as they grow up.
Christmas is a special time for me and always has been. I love decorating, baking, giving and receiving, celebrating and the whole bit. It sometimes takes a lot of work, but it’s always worth it. Some traditions I grew up with included my mom putting her angel ornament on the tree as the very last, finishing touch. They also included a specific order in which gifts were opened on Christmas morning: kids get into stockings while mom called the older relatives to come over, then we waited. The extended family arrived and the kids got to open Santa presents, taking turns to extend the excitement, of course. Break for breakfast of donuts. Then back to family gifts, when kids would pass out all the gifts under the tree, and we’d all take turns in a circle opening one gift at a time, so everyone would see. Christmas would take HOURS, followed by a large meal and a long, joyful day.
There are other traditions, such as advent calendars, looking at the tree lights at night in the dark, and hanging a jingle bell on the doorknob so it makes that special noise every time you go in or out. We bake special recipes, send out annual cards, and leave out cookies and milk for Santa.
Some of these traditions I keep in my own family, but now we have new ones to add. Each Christmas Eve, my husband gives the one and only gift he actually does on his own – he gives my two daughters and me our new Christmas pajamas to open and wear (he’s already pre-washed them and wrapped them himself!). On Christmas morning, we have birthday cake for breakfast instead of donuts.
Whatever your religious beliefs may or may not be, this time of year usually brings about special feelings with family and friends. With that come memories and traditions that tend to end the calendar year with warmth. To you and yours, happy holidays!