Upon my return from Africa and following several phone conversations with close friends inquiring about my experience, it became apparent to me I would be ...
Friday, December 4, 2009
When Nae was in the fourth grade I was visiting her classroom just before Christmas break.
The teacher asked the kids to share what their favorite family Christmas tradition were.
I'll never forget the look on Nae's face when she looked to me for an answer.
The truth was we had none.
I wasn't raised with any traditions.
I'd had Nae young, got married, had another baby, went through nursing school, worked full time had two more kids. Life was a blur at that time.
I was 26 years old. I had trouble planning my meals for the week.
But after listening to those cute little kids proudly describe the special things they did around the holidays I knew we needed to find some traditions.
So I started talking about it with the kids.
Now I will warn you these are pretty silly traditions.
There are no deep meanings in these.
It's just what we do as a family.
I don't know if you'd count this as a tradition but I do. Each kid has their own Christmas ornament box. Every year I buy a new ornament or two for each kid that has something to do with what they are interested in that year. Because I only have one ornament from when I was a kid, I wanted for my kids to someday leave home and have a box full of ornament and memories.
When we decorate the tree it makes it easy for the kids to hang their own ornaments and reminisce.
Christmas Eve PJ's and Secret Santa:
One year I thought it would be nice to have new PJ's for Christmas morning. I wrapped them and told the kids they got to open one gift Christmas Eve. I know, it was kinda mean. They were not thrilled with their PJ's but then to my surprise the next year they asked if we could do that again. So now every year we do the same thing. The kids joke about how they don't know what the gift is. They act all excited and silly. The only twist now is when we have others with us on Christmas Eve, guess what they get. Yep, new PJ's. Now that the kids are older they have also added Secret Santa on Christmas Eve. The kids draw names just between themselves at Thanksgiving and open that gift the night before Christmas.
Monkey Bread and A Christmas Story:
We all get into our new PJ's and make monkey bread, drink egg nog and watch the best Christmas movie ever.
Yes, A Christmas Story. I think everyone in my family can recite that movie by heart. And if you haven't seen it...then you're lame! I can't imagine there is anyone living in the USA who hasn't seen it but if you haven't just go to TBS on Christmas Eve, they play it nonstop, back to back all day and night long (yes, it's that good!).
Yes, Santa still comes at our house. When my kids got to the age where they notified me that they didn't believe that Santa was real we had a little heart-to-heart (or shall I say a veiled threat). This is kinda how my end of the conversation went: "Honey, you can believe whatever you want-- but Santa still comes to our house and brings all the presents. If you decide to tell your brothers or sister what you believe-- then you will get nothing from Santa--oh, and did I mention that Santa brings ALL the presents?"
It worked for me.
The Christmas Pickle:
I'm a little worried that this might be a little anticlimactic....so many have asked. Back during that first year of trying to find some traditions, someone told me about the Christmas Pickle. I had to search forever to find one. Now a days they are everywhere and come with a little card describing some "pickle legend" or something.
I don't know anything about all that.
All I know is that I hide the pickle on the tree Christmas Eve and the kid who finds it first Christmas morning gets a little extra present. In the past I've given candy or an special ornament. This year I will be kicking it up a little with a gift card (gotta keep the teens engaged).
Every year I make a strata for breakfast Christmas morning. It is the same recipe of strata that was served at my bridal shower. It's nice because I can make it the night before, set the table and not have to do anything in the morning except enjoy the family.
I will admit for years the kids hated strata and complained constantly. A few years ago I told them that I would make something different. "You can't do that!!! It's our tradition!!" Now they all claim to like it.
So there you have it. Every year I am threatened with bodily harm if I forget any of our traditions (really).
It just goes to show you that your traditions don't have to be fancy or elaborate. Just as long as they are special to your family.
I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions (I would love to keep adding more)