When I was a child, there weren't many traditions around the holidays, but my dad and I always went to midnight mass and then came home to have some eggnog and holiday bread. Since we opened our presents that evening, we never got up early on Christmas. Hubby's family had lots of traditions and fond memories so it was only natural when we had our girls that I wanted to start lots of traditions for them. I think the most important memory that also ushered in some traditions, was the birth of our daughter Kim on Christmas morning. From that point on, we always hosted a Christmas Open House, with a sit down dinner, because we were staying home on Christmas. Like many others, the girls and I always made cookies to share with others-they always loved giving to neighbors. We always celebrated Kim's birthday the first weekend in December, we didn't want her feeling like she was cheated out of a party. When we lived in Silicon Valley, we always drove up to the Santa Cruz mountains to cut our own tree and the girls loved the family that owned the tree farm. On Christmas Eve, we would pile in the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights, with Christmas carols playing in the background. There was an entire cul-de-sac, in Santa Clara Ca,. that was decorated to the max-I mean even in the days when there was an energy shortage, people still had incredible outdoor decorations; of course there were coffee cans where you could donate if you wanted to. Oh how our girls love this! When we got back home, there was always a Christmas movie that we watched before bed and then off they went. When they went to their bedrooms, there was always a new pair of p.j's waiting for them. At that point, hubby and I would haul out all the presents from the hiding place in the garage and begin a marathon wrapping session, for nothing was allowed under the tree before Christmas morning. It was so incredible to wake up to all the presents under the tree; however there were many Christmas eves when hubby and I would stay up til two or three in the morning wrapping. Needless to say, often this mom did not want to get up at six o'clock and my girls do remember my being somewhat grumpy(which I was, due to sleep deprivation). After presents, we would have pancakes and then begin the clean up before everyone showed up to celebrate with us-a full sit down dinner for around 115-20 people. Those were the days when I really stressed over that large of a group; hey now it is just a few more than our family-how times change. I will say that everyone brought a dish to share which helped out alot but I was not skilled in the art of entertaining and cooking, so it was always a day that I was stressed.
When we moved to Santa Rosa, Ca. we continued these traditions but had to find a new tree farm-we were successful and loved our new place. The girls continued to get new p.j.'s and for a few years, I also got the grands new ones but then the numbers grew so I let that one go. My girls continue our traditions and they also rotate whose home dinner will be at; so it is easy for hubby and I just to get in the car and go. Traditions usher in fond memories and enrich a families life. We were and are so blessed by our daughters & their families and celebrating the birth of our Savior; I have much to be thankful for.
Blessings on your day. Noreen
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