Christmas Memories: Traditions or Toys?I remember some Christmases when I was little that BLEW. MY. MIND.
- I remember the year Santa brought me a Barbie pool! Cool Summer Barbie was sitting on the slide, ready to slide down into that pool full of water with Ken (swoon) on the other side of the pool, waiting for her.
- One year I got both an Easy Bake Oven AND a Pizza Hut oven – which was like an Easy Bake except made little pizzas. The Easy Bake used to just cook cakes – now I think they come with pizza kits too!
- I also remember the year I got a record player and there were 45s hung all over the tree!
Family TraditionsI LOVE hearing people’s family traditions – holiday traditions, vacation traditions, coming-of-age traditions, all of it. So I thought I’d share some of our family’s traditions!
My Childhood TraditionsTraditions I remember from when I was a little girl were mostly traditions from when my mom was a little girl. The ones I remember most, and that I now do for my boys are:
Reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas EveI remember sitting on my dad’s lap as he read it to me when I was little. The boys’ first Christmas, my cousin gave us this gorgeous “Animotion” version of the book. The boys love how the images dance on the pages. I think it’s classified as a board book – It looks like this:
StockingsGrowing up there were always, ALWAYS, some staples in my stocking:
- A HUGE navel orange, in the toe
- A HUGE red apple, with the orange
- Whole walnuts
- Some chocolate – like maybe some bells or kisses
- A small wrapped gift in Santa paper
- A Pez sticking out of the top
Santa Gifts: wrapped or unwrapped?In my childhood – both. Santa left WOW gifts unwrapped in front of the tree, typically, but there were also some gifts wrapped in special Santa paper that he’d chosen just for me.
Events and Operating Procedures
Christmas EveI don’t really remember much about our Christmas Eves when I was little-little. As a teenager, I remember going to one of my aunt’s and uncle’s houses many Christmas Eves – often after church. I don’t think we went to church every Christmas Eve – but sometimes – either evening service or midnight service. Other things I remember about Christmas Eve was riding around looking at Christmas lights – I’ll have to ask my mom if this was a normal Christmas Eve activity or if I just remember doing that sometime leading up to Christmas. I’m not sure. We usually made sugar cookies in the day or two leading up to Christmas Eve, so we could leave cookies and milk out for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer.
Before bed my dad would read Twas the Night Before Christmas, and then, believe it or not, sometimes I actually heard SLEIGH BELLS and would promptly go to sleep so as not to land on the Naughty List at the last minute!
My mom would ooh and aah over what she glimpsed, and if she hadn’t already, she would turn on the Christmas lights, put on Willie Nelson’s Pretty Paper, and position herself just right, camera in hand, to snap a picture of me coming out and seeing the gifts Santa brought.Typically after the initial fun, I would dump my stocking out and my mom would get coffee and put a pot of grits on the stove. As for gifts – we didn’t do the 4-gift rule specifically – but we did always have something to play with, something to wear, something to read on Christmas morning. Mid-morning I’d put on whatever new duds I’d gotten, choose my favorite portable gift and we’d head over to my grandmother’s house for Christmas morning with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. There was always a big breakfast spread, then gifts (mom and her siblings drew names when I was little, and they went into ALL OUT PRODUCTION MODE some years! So fun!).