When I was a child, Christmas was everything. It was stress free, magical and full of traditions. It was the best. I remember trying so hard to stay awake to hear the reindeer stomps on my roof, or maybe Santa’s bells as he descended the chimney. I never left my bed once I was tucked in like a burrito. We would set out some almost burnt, maybe totally burnt, but homemade cookies, some 2% milk in a random mug, and carrots for the reindeer, 9 of course- don’t forget about Rudolph. Of course the excitement would propel us from our beds at some ungodly hour, 4 maybe 5 am. My dad’s newest work boots would be filled with goodies, usually a LipSmackers (Dr Pepper or vanilla frosting for me), a Lifesaver book, and an orange. As kids we were allowed to peep our stockings while my parents got themselves together and brewed the precious coffee. We would have orange cinnamon rolls and then my dad started making upside down French Toast for breakfast.
It was all so easy, so seamless. I guess that is childhood expectations vs. the parental responsibility during Christmas.
As a parent, it has been amazing to continue traditions from my childhood while also starting traditions of our own. We don’t have a chimney, for example, so our stockings are hung on the stair railing with care. Santa somehow always knows to leave an orange, every year. My kids get up early on the daily, except for Gabriel, so Christmas is extra. Santa here doesn’t have time to wrap gifts, so that gift is always easily visible when they sneak downstairs at 4 or something. My husband and I eat Chinese food on Christmas Eve, while watching kinda terrible, but also wonderful, Hallmark Christmas movies while we wrap the kids’ gifts. He also has to run to some store on Christmas Eve every year because he forgot to get me something.
Another one of our traditions started when we were in medical school, aka pretty poor. We would strap kids into their car seats, make some hot chocolate and drive around to see the Christmas lights. In Iowa we would go to Jolly Holiday Lights. In Kansas City, it was Christmas in the Park. Here in Florida, we go to Christmas Reflections in Defuniak Springs.
As a child, I believed that Christmas was the best. As a parent, I know it’s the best.
Taking some of the traditions from my childhood and melding them with some of my husband’s family traditions, we’ve been able to Frankenstein our own family traditions. My childhood expectations of Christmas vs. my parental responsibility during Christmas has helped us to create special traditions for our little family that I hope my kids are excited to carry on. What are some traditions that you do as a family?