Christmastime is nearly here, and my household is getting pretty darn excited. Christmas is my favorite time of year, bar none, so with tomorrow being Christmas Eve I thought I’d share some favorite moments, memories, and traditions.
– Even during the times when my family didn’t necessarily have a lot of money, I was always spoiled at Christmas. I can’t remember a single holiday season when I didn’t get a few presents that absolutely shocked and amazed me. And even though my parents weren’t always very knowledgeable about the things I liked (hello…my mother still called video games “movies” until I was about sixteen), they always managed to pay enough attention to get me the best presents. I still remember the year I got my original Nintendo Entertainment System, even though I hadn’t been brave enough to ask for one, and nothing beat the year my parents managed to track down a used copy of the game I rented every single week – Final Fantasy III (VI). Those kinds of gifts, regardless of cost or how new or popular they were, really proved to me that my parents cared about giving me an awesome holiday, and I plan to try my very hardest to continue that tradition with my own daughter.
– Call me an old-timer if you wish, but I swear this is the truth: young people these days are selfish when it comes to work and holidays. It seems like every young employee out there, regardless of how little time they’ve been with their company, seems to think that they deserve every holiday off – with pay of course! I wish all of them could experience some of the earlier Christmases that my mother experienced when I was a child. My mother used to have to work every year on Christmas. Her shift was 7 am to 3 pm. She would get up with my father and I at about 5 am so that I could open my presents before she had to go to work, and most years she would even get the turkey going in the oven sometime in between those presents. After being up super-early she would go do her 8-hour shift, come home and get the veggies on the stove, and have Christmas dinner on the table by 5. That’s not to mention all the little things I didn’t even notice as a child, like cleaning up after dinner, sweeping away all the wrapping paper, and playing host to all the family members who would come visit us in the evening. Plus I was one of those kids who was up half the night on Christmas Eve, so mom and dad were probably up until midnight, assembling toys and arranging presents under the tree. And mom never whined about having to work the holiday.
– I have this Christmas calendar that I’ve had for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those homemade deals, made with felt and dowels. It has a nice picture of Santa and Mrs Claus on the top, and all the dates have little pockets, which hold a little felt mouse who marks the date. I loved that calendar when I was little, and I’ve kept it all this time, and you can’t imagine how happy it makes me feel to watch my daughter move that little mouse every day with a big smile on her face. The important traditions are the ones that you pass on and that make your heart full.
– Some traditions carry on, but some change or disappear completely. When I was little I always got to open one present on Christmas Eve…it was almost always pajamas, but at least I got to open something. In my husband’s family they didn’t do that, and he holds firm to that level of self-restraint. There will be no opening of gifts early in this household. Our daughter will just have to deal with the stress. 😄
– In past years I’ve received many an eye-roll or snarky comment from my parents and inlaws, relating to the gifts my husband and I buy for each other at Christmas. We’re huge kids at this time of year, and often times there’s a stuffed toy or two for me, an action figure or collectible for him, or something else terribly silly. Half the time in recent years our daughter has ended up being the one to play with these gifts, and our older family members look at us like we’re nuts, or going through a second childhood or something. To them I blow a raspberry and stick up my nose. My husband and I love being silly and fun with each other, and that’s all there is to it. The day we stop having fun with each other at Christmas is the day we may as well just give up. Here’s to many, many more years of ridiculously childish gifts!
– Three years ago I got the best early Christmas gift a person could ever get. My little baby girl was born on December 4th, and though she’s opened presents and enjoyed the spoils within in past years, this will be the first year that she really has some clue as to what is happening. You can’t imagine how excited I am to get her up on Christmas morning, to show her that Santa Claus has come and left her lots of goodies, and to sit all day and watch her tear at wrapping paper and awe at all her wonderful new toys. That, to me, is so much better than opening presents myself. To just sit there and see the joy on her face as she rips open each new toy…that’s the meaning of Christmas to me.
So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or the holiday greeting of your choice to you all. May you enjoy the season in whichever way you choose, hopefully surrounded by loved ones and lots of fun. That’s my plan. 🙂