We are now entering my favorite time of year. Christmas, baby! I love the spirit of the season (no, not consumerism). The thing I might love the most is all the traditions. We all have them. Those holiday traditions which we have done since childhood or the new ones we created with families of our own. I love the ones my family has created but I also love hearing about other people’s as well. That being said, I wanted to share an abbreviated list of my favorite holiday things:
Picking It : love picking out the Christmas tree. When I was younger, my mom always went and got one. She would get a Frasier that was tall and fat. While my family still gets a tall, fat Frasier Fir, it is not just mom who picks it out. It is a family event. When possible, we try to cut your own, but we have run into a couple occasions where the weather or small children (who shall remain nameless) prohibit us from getting a tree in a timely manner, so we will resort to buying pre-cut if needed. I expect the kidlets will tell stories in the future of mom dragging them all over tree farms to find the perfect tall and fat Frasier Fir while dad rolled his eyes until he was needed to work the handsaw.
This year is no different. Hubby is still complaining about the weight of this year’s tree and the effort to cut it down, even as I am typing this out. I think he needs to just get over it. I helped him drag it in….
Decorating It: Since Hubby and I started getting trees, it has always been up to me to decorate. Sure, he will help with the lights (which caused a few fights at first regarding deep inside the tree versus outer branches). However, the ornaments are all me. When putting them on the tree, I love to turn on “It’s a Wonderful Life” and drink hot cider. Now that Biggest and Littlest are old enough to help me, I hope this tradition will continue. Or I can watch my movie and have my cider while I move all the ornaments from the bottom front of the tree to everywhere else their little arms could not reach.
Every year, I love to put up Christmas decorations in the house. This is something I refuse to do until the day after Thanksgiving. Call me traditional, but I like to take my holidays one at a time. Sometimes, the kidlets help me. That is how, a couple years ago, we ended up with several canned goods and a container of chicken stock mixed in with the Christmas decorations, thanks to Littlest. This year I did it myself, since the kidlets and Hubby were gone this weekend. However, I did make sure to put out the super annoying singing snowman from Hallmark. The girls will be psyched. Hubby will be annoyed by the end of the day.
Since I got my own place, I have been known for my Christmas cookies. I would make anywhere from 9 to 11 different kinds of cookies every year, giving them out at parties, as well as to friends and neighbors. I would rarely participate in cookie exchanges, preferring to make them myself (yes, I am a control freak). Once I had kids, I realized I would have to allow them to bake with me sometimes. *sigh* I guess.
These days, I have paired down the baking tradition. Last year, I even participated in a cookie exchange. I am realizing, that I need to reprioritize my time and patience. I might only make 3 or 4 different kinds of cookies this year. I might even let the kidlets help me. To my loyal Christmas cookie followers, I promise I will always make the homemade caramels.
Saying Merry Christmas
OK, I know it is no longer OK to say this, but I love it when someone says “Merry Christmas” to me instead of “Happy Holidays” for the sake of being politically correct. Let’s take it a step further. If you want to wish me “Happy Kwanza”, “Happy Hanukah” or whatever the holiday wish from your religion is, I welcome it. You are simply wishing glad tidings in your own personal form. I highly encourage everyone to do so and not be offended when you are presented with something different but no less genuine.
At our house, family pictures were a necessity. My sister and I would sit back to back in front of the tree every year, posing for picture after picture. Once we got older, my sister actually would start staging the photos herself, making sure the lighting was correct, we were sitting good, moving furniture, etc. Because of this, my kids are now subjected to the same thing. Naturally, this means we need to coordinate the outfits we wear to church, just so we all look good together in the photos. Hopefully, some day my kidlets will learn to smile nice for the camera, not just give the cheesy, strained quasi-smiles they are becoming famous for when posing.
I know every family does this different. In my house growing up, we always did opened presents on Christmas Eve as a family, watching each person open one gift at a time to see what they got and their reaction. My dad would always gruffly yell, “Turn the crank and save the box.” That is one of my favorite holiday memories. Now, how many years later, Hubby and I do the same thing with our kids, minus the “crank” comment. Well, sometimes we throw that one in, just for fun. I love watching the kids open their gifts. The facial expressions are priceless. Who doesn’t remember the joy of opening Christmas presents? Watching my own kids is like being a kid again myself.
These are a few of my favorite holiday traditions. I could go on and on, but you would get bored with my rambling. So, now what are YOUR favorite things?