Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions.  Maybe they were passed down from your parents, or maybe you started them yourself…..a cookie exchange, an Ugly Sweater party, Christmas caroling, a new tree ornament every year, volunteer work, or what food is served for Christmas dinner. Most of us have traditions that we treasure and honor year after year. 

As a child, I remember my family driving from California to the teeny-tiny town of Lawton, Kansas to visit my maternal grandparents every 18 months. That meant that every 3 years we were there for Christmas. My entire extended family lived in that area and we always had lots of family gatherings, as well a Christmas party in the one-room schoolhouse, where my Mom went to school.  Of course, Santa came with gifts for everyone. There was music and food and lots of that colorful, hard Christmas candy that is pretty much all sugar. 

The years that we were at home for Christmas was quite different. It was just the 5 of us; Mom, Dad, my sister, my brother and me. We opened our gifts in the morning, probably way earlier than my parents wanted to get up. We had a Christmas dinner, but those memories are a bit fuzzy. I can’t recall what we ate, or if there were any traditional dishes that Mom fixed for Christmas. The one thing that I remember the most, one tradition that we always kept, was dressing up and going to the movies in the late afternoon.

We didn’t normally go to the movies as a form of family entertainment, but we did on Christmas Day. I don’t know why  it was that way. It just was.

My Mom lost her battle with cancer when I was 23, and I lost my father 19 years ago.  Since then I’ve often thought of going to the movies on Christmas Day afternoon. Just because.  But my husband and I have always been busy with our children and their families on Christmas, and just haven’t done it. But this year…. this year it’s going to happen.

We are celebrating Christmas with our son’s family the weekend before Christmas and with our daughter’s family the weekend after Christmas. We all live quite a distance from one another, and that’s just the way it worked out this year. My husband, who is a tour guide at Yosemite, is working on Christmas Day. So he and I will be having our “own” Christmas on the 24th, Christmas Eve. And we’re going to the movies. It makes me smile just thinking about it even now. 

I hope that Christmas Day finds you surrounded by traditions that make your heart warm and happy.

Merry Christmas.

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Comments (10)

  1. Judy

    Thanks so much for sharing your memories Karen … wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays and the very best new year!
    You made me think of some memories that I have, like my dad buying our tree on Christmas Eve so he could get it very inexpensively because we didn’t have a lot of money. We usually got one with a bare side and we used to call it the Tannenbum.. put that side against the wall… lol my parents always allowed us to open one gift Christmas Eve and surprise, it was always new pajamas… sweet memories..

    December 23, 2018 at 4:57 pm
  2. Christine

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your lovely family.

    December 23, 2018 at 11:26 pm
  3. Isn’t is amazing how Christmas memories and traditions touch our hearts every year? This is a wonderful story and enjoy your movie! Merry Christmas!

    December 24, 2018 at 3:49 am
  4. Stephanie Barry

    I hope you enjoyed your movie. What did you see? My parents home was the gathering place for 6 of the 7 kids. My brother, way out in California, never came home for Christmas once he graduated from college and moved there. Lots of games played at the kitchen table and lots of sweet treats in between meals!

    January 1, 2019 at 2:45 pm
    • Karen

      That sounds like a lovely day, Stephanie. On Christmas Day, when hubby was gone, I decided to do some digi-kit organizing with ACDSee. So I spent all day at the computer doing that, and I watched 3 Amazon Prime movies while doing that: I feel Pretty, Because I said So, and Time Travelers Wife. The next day, when Rick and I were going to go to the movies, it was super foggy out and not fun to drive mountain roads. So we stayed home – which was fine with me since I had watched 3 movies the day before.

      January 2, 2019 at 5:41 am
  5. FussBudget

    Sometimes it takes me a while to read all of my emails. This being January 24th attests to that fact. But I so enjoyed your Christmas Memories writing. I’ve found it very difficult to live without all the books of my father and mother, cherished knick knacks, old towels, toys, and Christmas decorations. They make me both happy to have them out and about my home, but also sad that my parents home is no more. So when I have a lot of the past sitting out it’s always a happy/sad feeling. It was so nice to read about your Christmas memories, Karen. Keep on writing because I save most of them to read and reread.

    January 24, 2019 at 3:37 am
    • Karen

      Thank you for reading my newsletter – no matter when that is. That means so much to me. I totally understand your feelings about your parents’ possessions. I hope the happy memories outweigh the sadness.

      January 28, 2019 at 5:13 pm
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