Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas past to present

Growing up, I was raised "like" an only-child.  My two brothers and sister had already moved out.    The holidays were always my favorite times, because I got to see them.  I especially couldn't wait to see my big "Sissy"! 

My Mom was the head of the family and a wonderful hostess, baker, and cook, so the holidays, literally came together because of her.  Christmas was never just a holiday, but more of an entire season that started the day after Thanksgiving and lasted into the New Year.   Mom loved Christmas soooo much...decorating the entire house, several huge trees, putting up all the lights, baking cookies, making candies, and singing carols ALL the time! (which used to embarrass me!)

Christmas Eve, I always waited anxiously, literally watching out the window, for family to arrive.  We opened all the presents from the family and had appetizers and desserts that night.  It was always a party when we all got together.  Then, of course, the whole waking up to presents from Santa, followed by Christmas dinner around noon.   Very typical dinner with all the fixings. 

It was always sad when the celebration ended and everyone packed their bags and headed home.  It would seem so QUIET. 

Even now, having my own family, I continue most of the traditions I grew up with.  We have introduced some new ones and changed things up a bit.  We still start the season right after Thanksgiving.  I must have inherited the excitement factor from my Mom, because I LOVE this holiday still like a little kid!  The kids and I go digging out special ornaments and decorating everything, while poor Billy pack-mules everything for us!  I am a planner, so I immediately start thinking about the dinner menu and what cookies and candies to make.  

Although we have most of the holidays at our house, Christmas is usually kept low-key, as far as having company come.  Since Billy and I have both lost our parents, we really focus on the kids, which does mean that Aunt Sissy "has" to stay the night...the kids wait for it all year!

Christmas Eve day we celebrate by visiting a local nursing home with gifts of hand-packaged sugar cookies.  We just go to visit.  They love seeing the kiddos all dressed up in their Christmas makes a great ice-breaker to start conversations.  Afterwards, we head home to have snacks, appetizers, and sweets by the fire.  We started saying a "thank you" prayer before opening presents.  The kids get their gifts from Aunt Sissy (which are awesome- she really spoils them) and then a little one (pajamas or a book) from us.  We settle in early to wait for Santa...Billy reads "the night before Christmas" book and the kids put out cookies, milk and carrots for the reindeer before bed.

We always have everything ready when the kids wake up.  The camera is rolling and out they come to see what wonderful things have been left for them.  The kids make up their letter/wish list for Santa with no more than 3 items.  So far, the items have been easy for Santa to bring and the kid's have never been disappointed!   Then we spend the day (in our pajamas, sometimes), playing with new toys and making our Christmas dinner.  We have a prime rib roast (thanks again to my sister-the meat bringer) with sauteed veggies and salad for dinner.

When it is over, a tiny bit of "sad" still comes over me. I must admit, the quiet never comes, and for that, I am ever so grateful

Then...I start planning Blake's birthday that is ONLY two weeks away !!!  :)


  1. Wow, I want to move in with you guys! You are making wonderful memories for the kids. I remember my mom decorating the house, too, and the excitement of it all. I sometimes wonder if it means the same thing to our kids as it did to us. Love this time of year!

  2. Oh, this post brings a tear to my eye... such a wonderful holiday full of family traditions- what a precious way to celebrate the birth of our Lord!