Christmas is such a collection of traditions. Most holidays will gradually develop traditions but I’m not sure there is one that is more prone to be “ruined” if those traditions get bent or left off for a year as Christmas.
With that in mind I thought I’d share a few of ours.
There are two kinds of Christmas families in the world. Christmas Eve families and Christmas Day families. I was in my twenties before I ever ran into a Christmas Eve family. Still can’t quite wrap my head around the idea.
That pretty much let’s the cat out of the bag for this post, I guess. Growing up we were a Christmas morning family.
For the presents, I mean.
We usually managed to badger my parents into letting us open one present on Christmas Eve. Since only the little presents and the ones from family were under the tree at that point, our choices were limited. One small package, to whet the appetite. We still do that at my house, now that I’m “in charge”. In fact, we will buy specific presents just for Christmas Eve. I am happy to say that there is no tradition of “Christmas pajamas” in my family. While I try to never judge another’s family traditions, that one strikes me as terrible.
We are also big on the surprise of Christmas morning. There is no sneaking around trying to find presents before they are wrapped. Nor is there any pinching, shaking or trying to see through the wrapping paper. In fact, we usually tell each other where the presents are being stored so we don’t accidentally stumble on them. The sanctity of the surprise is strictly maintained. A few presents go under the tree Christmas Eve. A whole bunch more “appear” over night. It makes the morning that much more special for us. I always try to get a surprise present for my wife. It has been my great pleasure to have been surprised with some very cool stuff over the years. Things that I never saw coming.
As a kid, Christmas morning began bright and early. For us, at least. My parents saw no reason to coddle their children by starting Christmas before they had gotten a decent night’s sleep. We each had stockings that were left for us in the bedroom. If we were quiet (and we were NEVER quiet enough for my father, lol) we were allowed to open up the goodies there until the grown ups decided that a properly decorous hour had been reached.
There was to be no screaming banshees and no wrapping paper flying in all directions. We settled in, Mom and Dad on the furniture and the three boys on the floor. A present for everyone and the detritus carefully gathered up at regular intervals. It may sound staid and boring but I remember those mornings as wonderfully joyous.
Since we started our own family, not much has changed. The lady of the house wasn’t a big fan of the traditional morning coffee cake, so we changed to home-made cinnamon rolls. Once the third member of the family arrived we started doing video tapes of the morning festivities. They are a lot of fun to watch now. A DVD of a fireplace and our favorite Christmas music on the stereo and we’re good. Otherwise pretty much the same. I still sit on the floor, only her ladyship plays the adult.
It’s a tradition.