December 2, 2011

celebrating christmas traditions

Now that it’s December, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas… shopping. As of the beginning of the month, I’ve purchased gifts for my closest friends, but none of my family. I don’t know what to get any of them. They should give me Christmas lists.

This year, we’ll be spending Christmas with my family. First, Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house, Christmas morning with Dad, late Christmas morning with Mom, and Christmas lunch with my other set of grandparents. Last year, we went to my family’s Christmas, and my in-laws’ Christmas, driving 1000 miles over the course of three days. It was too much, so we’re starting a new tradition: swapping Christmas destinations every year. With my family, we’ve had several traditions over the years. Most of them faded as we got older, but I remember most of them.

I think the funniest tradition is the accidental one. Imagine it: you’ve just opened the last of your presents, and you didn’t get the video game you really wanted. But you put a smile on anyway, and thank your dad for the presents. A week later—yes, a week later—dad comes out of his bedroom with another present. Yeah, he forgot to put it under the tree. And yeah, it’s the video game you wanted. What’s funny, is it happens nearly every year. One year, it was board games he forgot to wrap. Another year, it was a dozen movies.

When me and my sister were kids, we would put out carrots and peanut butter for Santa’s reindeer and of course, cookies and milk for the fat man himself. I’d try to stay awake all night, but inevitably, I’d fall asleep on the couch and wake up in my bed the next morning. Dad never wrapped presents. They just arrived magically under the tree, and it was gift overload. A N64! A bicycle! An art set! Mario Kart! Barbies! Hot Wheels! Legos! I never knew what to play with first. Dad wraps presents now because I once complained that I didn’t have enough time to process each present. I like to savor each gift.

Now, when we have kids, we’ll probably have our own traditions, probably offbeat and weird.

What are your Christmas traditions? If you don’t have any now, did you when you were a kid?

This post is part of the 12Days of Christmas event going on from the 10th of December to the 22nd at Nadja Notariani's blog. I’ll be giving away a copy of my book at that time (as well as several other books), so stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted, and you can always click on the 12 Days of Christmas button in my sidebar to get there.


  1. For years and years, my mom's side of the family got together for a potluck dinner on Christmas eve at someone's house. When there got to be too many of us to fit in a house, we started renting a building and moved the celebration to the Saturday before Christmas.
    But this year, my grandmother died. She held us together, and I don't know what we're going to do without her. Christmas is coming soon, and we still don't know if we're even doing anything for Christmas. At least not with that side of my family.

  2. As a kid, we did the same thing, minus the chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes, we did the gingerbread snaps. But each morning, really early, like stupid early for a five or six year old, me and my brother and sister would hop out of bed and rush to the tree finding all sorts of wrapped gifts.

    oh...the good times. :-)

  3. You know what I miss about Christmas? Getting toys! When you're an adult, people think you need adult stuff. Really? Maybe my family ought to start a new tradition. Everyone gets toys! :)

  4. My favorite Christmas tradition, which I still share with my kids today, is driving around to look at Christmas lights on Christmas eve and when we got home, Santa had already come. I remember us always getting together with the aunts, uncles, and cousins and driving around in a long line of cars lol. We have added to it a little, now we take my girls out to eat and to a movie before Christmas lights. I love this tradition so much! I always felt special because Santa came to my house before everyone elses! And BTW I agree with!!! I think everyone should get a toy! Hehehe, I still lay down in the floor with my kids and color in coloring books! Always a kid at heart!

  5. Olivia -- I know what you mean. On my mom's side of the family, we all get together with her parents, and there's like 30 of us now. I don't know what we'll do after they're gone.

    Angela -- I think Christmas was the only day of the year where we got out of bed before our parents asked us to. I know there were several years when we woke up at 4 am!

    Laura -- My husband and I bought ourselves a 51" plasma. I think that counts as a toy. ;)

    Mama Lee -- That's such a great tradition! That may be something we adopt someday.

    Thanks for the comments :)