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.