Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Traditions: The Past Meeting the Present

I’m an early riser, like my father, and it gives me time to reflect on life, before the chaos of daily life begins.  In the wake of Christmas, I was just thinking about how amazing traditions are. 

When I was little, every Christmas Eve my parents would make something disgusting for dinner: oyster stew (yes, I like it now, but as a child I thought it was disgusting).  I generally would not eat.  We would open one present from under the tree, the anticipation building throughout the day for that special moment, to know what we had received! 
After opening presents, we would normally hop into the car to go look at Christmas lights.  There was always one particular house down in a neighborhood near ASU that was decked out with so many Christmas lights, blow up Santas and reindeers in the yard, and it just made me giddy with excitement!

After arriving home, we would gather around my Dad’s piano (a Wurlitzer back then) to sing Christmas carols.  None of us have great voices, but we would just belt out those tunes, laughing and giggling the whole time! 

After singing, we sat on the white couch in the living room and Dad would read “The Night Before Christmas,” and the bible story: Luke 2:1-20.  We were just itching to crawl into bed at this point, so that we could wake up the next day to see what Santa had brought.

I would pass the night, tossing and turning, dreaming about waking up to the presents and candy!  One year I even threw up, because I was so excited! Usually around 3 or 4, I would creep out of bed and wake up my sisters and brother.  We would sit on the landing on top of the stairs, just listening to see if Mom and Dad would ever wake up.  We’d usually sit up there for a few hours before they’d open their bedroom door, located at the bottom of the stairs, and tell us to come on down.  Sometimes, they’d make us sit in the breakfast room and eat before seeing what Santa brought (and no matter what, he’d always put an orange in our stockings!).

These traditions make for great memories.  Repeating the same tradition year after year helps you hold onto parts of the past that are important.  We’re resuming a lot of these traditions now, with our family and I hope they have just as wonderful memories of their past Christmases as I do.

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