I have such fond memories of Christmas time from my childhood. Our tradition was we would travel to my father’s sister’s house for Christmas. As my twin and I were the youngest of the cousins we were doted on by the others. Then we would always travel to my mom’s sister for New Years Eve. We especially loved this part of the holiday as my aunt lived on a horse ranch with snowmobiles, a lake to skate on and all sorts of fun winter activities to do. Plus my twin and I always got to sleep in a makeshift bed under the dinning room table and watch the adults laugh and play trivial pursuit until we fell asleep.
My parents would absolutely spoil us and I remember under the tree always being very very full. My sister and I were allowed to share a room on Christmas Eve and I have such fond memories of us talking way into the evening, too excited to sleep and trying to guess what presents we were going to get the next day.
Another tradition we had growing up is we had three tree’s. The main one which my father decorated in a very meticulous way and two smaller — Charlie Brown type trees that my sister and I could decorate in any way we wanted. They were always cluttered with home made decorations, strings of popcorn, and lots and lots of tinsel.
But during my 20’s and until my daughter Joan arrived Christmas lost a bit of meaning. My parents had passed away and for the first few years my sister and I found it a hard time of year. We were incredibly well looked after by aunts, uncles and cousins and there were a lot of laughs too but it was more just a time to eat too much and be lazy than anything else.
So when my daughter arrived 2011 Christmas came alive again for me. It was magical once more. My husband and I loved planing for it. We started getting a tree each year and a new decoration for her to mark each one. I get such joy out of buying her presents and of course seeing her opening them. I began to introduce traditions that were part of my childhood like the Christmas Eve box, which is new pj’s, a new movie, and something sweet to eat.
Even buying stockings that we knew we would hold on to for years gave great meaning to Christmas again, as I still have the one I used every year for Santa as a kid.
Each year as she gets older becomes more magical too. She becomes more involved in choosing the tree, decorating the house, helping to buy presents, and writing her own cards. Our Christmas activities become more elaborate, like the seriously impressive gingerbread house we made last year. She takes great care now to make homemade gifts and helps with Christmas meals. It is such a lovely time to slow down, have proper chats, and make those lasting memories.
One memory we made only this past week and something that I know will stay with me forever was on our annual visit to see Santa. When he asked her what she would like for Christmas she said “For all the children and grown up’s to be happy.”
I nearly burst into tears then and there and I could see by Santa he was struck by her answer too. He told her she was the loveliest little girl and told us to be very proud of her. Which we are!