It’s Christmas Eve. I am up early attempting my first tiramisu. I like trying new recipes at Christmas. I am excited for today and tomorrow. My kiddos will be all mine. School is finished, work is closed, and friends are busy with their own families. This is our time together as a family. One that I cherish deeply and realize may change in the future as they create their own families.
Living 700+ miles away from my extended family, we made the choice to stay home for Christmas when my daughter was three years old. Traveling over Christmas was always hectic. The kids didn’t like being in car seats, they always had to become reacquainted with family at a time that people were also shoving gifts at them and expecting them to be happy, and with both of our parents divorced, we had multiple houses to visit. It was more stress than pleasure. Instead, we created our own traditions. Every Christmas Eve we have spent baking and preparing for Christmas day. We plan one special event for Christmas Eve. In the past we have made gingerbread houses, went ice-skating in Chicago, visited the Museum of Science and Industry for their Christmas trees around the world, bowling, and more recently we have started eating out on Christmas Eve. Then we come back and the kids open their gifts from one another. It is simple, but enjoyable. On Christmas morning we get up to see what Santa has brought, eat breakfast and finish opening gifts. When the kids were young, we spent the entire day playing with them and their new toys.
We have created wonderful traditions. Yet, as the kids get older, those traditions are challenged. Will they be happy with just the four of us? Do I need to come up with some other activity to keep them excited? As a mother, I see my precious two days as a family more important than ever because I know it may not always be this way. I want our traditions to be something they always look forward to and will eventually want their own partners and children to take part in. But I also want to keep an open mind to the changes that will occur in the coming years. I want my children to know that being with them is what really matters. Seeing their faces light up, sharing a meal together, or just sitting together is all that really matters in the end.
This year, I get to enjoy another year of tradition. Both kids will be home today to help put together our traditional Christmas burritos. My son will be sleeping at home tonight after we go out to eat. I love knowing both kids are snug in their own beds. I have been reminded that we need fruit for the morning in it’s special Christmas bowl, a wonderful reminder to me that they still enjoy the traditions we have made together. In the morning, we will wake up as usual and see what Santa has brought. I don’t know what next year will bring but today and tomorrow, I am planning to soak in as much of my family together as I possibly can. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you.
3 thoughts on “Enjoying Christmas Traditions”
I know I miss our traditions since the children are grown with families of their own. I miss two things in particular. The first is opening one present on Christmas Eve. My mom’s family was not very well off and they had little for Christmas. So the family would receive present son Christmas Eve when the local charity brought them to the house. My mother always told that story each Christmas ever as we opened one small thing.
You reminded me of the second. Christmas morning each person had a a box of chocolate covered cherries. This was a hold over form my father’s family. My grandfather would give these special treats and then consume them all as soon as they started opening presents. My dad gave these to me to remind me his tradition, but in addition to giving them to me, my dad always ate them.
Sheryl and I continued these traditions from the time our sons were little.
Yes traditions mean so much. Here is wishing you and your family the merriest Christmas and happiest of New Years.
Rick, thank you so much for sharing your traditions. Funny thing is, growing up, a box of chocolate covered cherries was always in our stocking from Santa. I could not wait for those things! Merry Christmas my friend. I look forward to seeing you in 2017.
Having a weird childhood, I don't hold a lot of memories of Christmas traditions. However, my husband and I have built our own traditions for both Christmas and New Years. They're completely offbeat from “traditional traditions” but they're ours. Looking forward to connecting with you in 2017.