Tag Archives: Christmas traditions

It’s Coming!

This is one of my favorite ornaments. I used to keep it on my desk all year long – now I have the scene ornament from Wrath of Khan there and Spock is back on my tree.

I’m not as laid up as I was but I’m still taking it a little easy because as awesome as the cortisone shot makes my knee feel, I don’t want to do more damage just because it’s feeling SO much better. Plus it’s Thursday which is now my headachy tired day. At least we can get both of them out of the way together and maybe have fun with the rest of Christmas break.

Christmas is one of my favorite things – most of my favorite memories are of either Christmas or Halloween and in both cases, it’s due either to my mom or my kids. With today being Yule, the holiday season is fresh in my thoughts and, given this year, I’m extra reflective.

When I was little, Christmas was all about the magic. When my kids were little, Christmas was all about the magic. There were a few dark Christmases for me there, between the loss of my mom and the birth of my first kid that I honestly don’t remember much about except how I was probably in trouble for something as that seemed to be my usual then. I don’t think about that time in my life very much.

One of the best parts of having children has been passing along the things my mom used to do for me to make everything magic. I don’t know that I’ve been successful but I hope so. The presents are great fun – I love to find the perfect thing for someone – that thing I know will make them squeal. I may never find that thing for my youngest kid but he always seems happy at the end of the day. I know I’ll never find that thing for some people who just can’t be that happy. And some people I struggle with because I can find them neat stuff that they’ll really enjoy but I can’t ever match the thing I gave them that was the Most Absolutely Perfect Thing. This year, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the oldest kid squealing, the husband picked out his squeal and is already squealy(lol), and I may have even managed the brother (and I cannot wait because he’s never squealy). And three times I’ve found The Perfect Thing for one of my parents which only serves to make me sad.

My love language is generally presents or food or a combination thereof. I cannot express my love for you better than my pecan pie or homemade marshmallows. I enjoy it even more when the presents are things I have made specifically for the people involved. This year, I didn’t manage to get much made. Ok, nothing so far but I have two things I’m hoping to get finished in the next 48 hours. Neither are squeal-worthy I don’t think but both will be enjoyed thoroughly.

My favorite presents from my childhood weren’t always the squeal-inducing ones though. Some took time and loss to appreciate in full. I think my absolute favorite is a necklace my mom designed for me with my very favorite stone (which very few people know of, let alone make jewelry out of) – it will likely always be my favorite. I don’t know that I squealed but I definitely gasped. I squealed at my computer and my motorcycle jacket. I loved my black velvet peasant skirt (enough that I still wear it 24 years later). I squealed at my telephone (the kind you could see through) and my ice skates. I cherish my handmade Little House on the Prairie dollhouse. My dad wasn’t really a part of my Christmas memories until I had kids of my own – mostly because he gave my mom everything she wanted in their divorce and that included ALL Christmases. He did a damn fine job as an adult though – one year it was a painting that reminded him of my mom, another it was my countertop dishwasher that saved me years of frustration.

I really hope that someday my kids can look back on their Christmases past with as much fondness as I do.

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Traditions

My family has a lot of Christmas traditions, mostly passed down from my mom. I’ve talked before about making presents, a thing I’m doing my best to pass along to my kids. I’ve talked about the movies and the music, if not here than on the old LiveJournal. Someday I’ll talk about the candy making and the books. Tonight, I want to talk about the oranges.

When I was very little, I was given a book. It was a book about a baby bear discovering all the best smells of Christmas and the very best smell wasn’t the pine of the tree or the sweet of the cookie or the bright mint of the candy cane. The very best smell was the orange in the stocking. I always agreed with Tiny Tim from my favorite Christmas movie ever (Scrooge), I would always rather have the oranges. I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t an orange in my stocking when I was very small.

During some of those years, we lived in Washington. I was about 7 when I first discovered the tiny, super sweet, peel in one orange ribbon Japanese oranges (sort of like what they call Cuties now but smaller). I could eat an entire crate of them all by myself. It remains to this day the only food outside of coffee that I ever asked for for Christmas. There was at least one year where I got my box of oranges (and I didn’t even have to share them!).

As I got older, the oranges turned chocolate. Neither of my kids took to oranges early so their oranges started out chocolate but they are there, without fail on Christmas morning.

I still have my copy of the Sweet Smell of Christmas though the scratch and sniffs have long since faded. My kids have a copy too, though I doubt they’ve read it in a few years, I bet at least the youngest could still recite it.

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Decorating Day!

I haven’t done a black Friday shopping run since my mom died – she made even the hectic shopping fun (granted 20 years ago it was no where near what it is now!). In my house, we have Decorating Day instead. It is one of my favorite holiday traditions. We stay home, watch Christmas movies, and decorate the house. It actually will take us all weekend to get it finished and it won’t actually be finished until Monday when we do the big tree.

The next few days will be crazy busy but, when it’s all done, my house will look a little like Christmas exploded in it and I will settle in with my hot cider and watch the trees twinkle and all the candles flicker and hope for snow (the only time of year where this is the case! And not enough snow to cancel snow – I have too much to do and not enough time).

Christmas is my favorite time of year and I love the traditions we’ve made and have been passed down. My favorite is Decorating Day but I love the baking days, making days, that every year I make something at least for my two boys but I try and make things for everyone, I love the silly Christmas movies, silly Christmas songs, and I love that one of my favorite writers is about to do her Advent story.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

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