Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Traditions

With our compliments of the season - we have been waxing nostalgic of late, and reminiscing about our family holiday traditions.

Julie reports:  "When I was a little girl, we didn't have special Christmas stockings - we hung out our own stockings that we wore!  Now, we didn't just use our socks, though!  I think we used my long stockings (even my two brothers) that were like the full legs of tights!  So it seemed like a very BIG stocking!  We didn't have a fireplace, so the stockings were pinned to our blankets in the morning, and they'd be overflowing with small gifts and treats.  One of the things I loved most was that, right in the toe - at the very bottom, was an orange!  Not just ANY orange, but the strange, delicious fruit only available at Christmas time - a mandarin orange, or tangerine, as we called them.  I realize that all this dates me, hahaha.  But it's a favorite memory.  I realize now that this was all a ploy to keep us kids in bed another hour, as we were strictly told to first open our stockings and play with those toys in bed until Mom or Dad came to get us!

Another cherished memory is that every year, one Friday evening, early in December, we kids would be picked up by our parents in the car at school - something that NEVER happened!  We would all go downtown and have dinner in a restaurant - something else that NEVER happened and seemed so special and exotic.  Then we would do our Christmas shopping.  I grew up in Port Arthur, Ontario in Canada, where we had only two "department type" stores to shop in - Eaton's and Kresge's.  The restaurant was between those two stores, so we piled out of the car and handled everything in about an hour and a half.  Then we went home for hot chocolate, while we listened to the radio playing Christmas songs and wrapped our gifts, at the kitchen table, all while attempting to hide our purchases from everyone else! 

Santa didn't wrap our presents, and when we were little, all our presents were from Santa, so in the morning, you could look under the tree and see everything at once.  I remember one year, when I was about three, it seemed like every gift under the tree was for me.  It probably seemed like that to my brother, too - he was nine and I guess a little old for the Santa routine, and my baby brother would have been just a month old.  When I looked under the tree, there was a small table and chair, just my size, with a blackboard propped up, and with "Merry Christmas" written very prettily in chalk.  A doll about the same size as me was sitting in the chair at the table and a little "TV seat" was there - my Dad had made it out of wood - in the seat was a compartment where I could keep my pajamas, and then I could sit on the seat to watch tv.  It was shaped like a racoon, and I loved it! 

Becky's family also has some lovely traditions.  Tim started the kids sleeping under the tree on Christmas Eve. He said they had done it when he was young, so when our kids were little, we would all sleep under the Christmas tree in our sleeping bags. It made it very hard for Santa to deliver his gifts and fill stockings!!!!!!!!

We open gifts on Christmas Eve with Tim's family and on Christmas day with our immediate family, so the kids never missed out on anything.

One Santa the kids visited when they were small, told them how Rudolph loved onions - so please leave out an onion for him on Christmas Eve, when you leave my milk and cookies. For many years we would leave out an onion for Rudolph, then in the morning there would be a few onion skins on the plate with the cookie crumbs, showing both Santa and Rudolph enjoyed their treats!

Holiday Contest!

Now, we'd like to hear about your holiday traditions!  This contest is open to any followers, so be sure you sign up to be one of our followers - and then leave a comment on this post, telling us one of your holiday traditions, or a treasured memory.  We will choose a winner from the posts and announce the winner of a special holiday present next week!  

Til then, we hope you and yours are enjoying a wonderful holiday season!


  1. One of our holiday traditions is to drive north and cut down our own Christmas tree every year. We usually go between the beginning of December and the 12th or so. As we drive up, we count the number of Christmas trees we see tied to the tops of other cars. The first years we went it was always over one hundred. Nowadays it's usually no more than 50 -- a sign of how things have changed since our kids were small. Somehow we've usually been lucky enough to have snow on the ground to make it feel Christmasy.

    We always try to find a very tall tree since our livingroom has a cathedral ceiling. One year we couldn't find a tall tree at our usual farm so we ventured to a new place and found an immense tree. It was fantastic! So we cut it down and lugged it to the car. But this place only had twine to tie the tree to the car and this tree was enormous! We tied the tree on, but it was draping over the sides of the car and generally showing off its girth. We were a bit nervous it would go flying off the car. We drove cautiously home, and on the way, everyone who passed us (we drove fairly slowly) would point at us, smiling, or honk their horns in approval. Some actually stuck their cell phones out the window to take a picture of the car with the enormous tree tied to its roof. We were laughing at the spectacle.

    We got home and dragged the tree inside, only to discover that the tree took up about half the livingroom, it was so wide! Yes, it was tall, but the width had been overlooked! All that season when the tree was up, visitors would come in the house and get a good chuckle as they commented on what a lovely -- and huge -- tree we'd gotten that year.

    From that year, we've since restrained ourselves in terms of the size of the tree. Now when we look at trees, we know that we'll never be able to find that super tall tree that is also skinny enough to fit comfortably in our livingroom. We settle for a decently tall tree, still taller than most get, but not so tall that its girth will cause problems. lol!

  2. my favorite Christmas memory is when i lived in Atwater,CA. i was in the 3rd grade and i remember each year my grandparents from Penns. would send a package of goodies. i recieved the best present ever that year a pair of Hush Puppies shoes, something i had never heard of but loved them instantly. we usually got one pair of shoes a year so these were extra special. simple yet a lasting memory

  3. Christmas is such a magical time of year. Every year! I have so many fun things (traditions) that we do, I hate to have to pick just one. So I won't. As a child, my parents shared the Nativity story from each of the 4 gospels each Sunday until Christmas Eve when we went to church and heard the Luke version again. We lit purple candles, then one pink candle and we knew Christmas would be the next day. I continue this tradition, and added the narration of hearttouching (read wrenching) stories from our book of 25 stories that teach the deeper meaning of Christmas. We read from this book each night of December. The stockings are hung and we eat fudge, which used to be made by Grandma EVERY year. Now we have her recipes and continue that scruptious tradition. Photo sessions in front of the tree are mandatory (even for boyz that don't smile) and we sometimes bribe them. Gingerbread, crafting, and gift wrapping are all funfilled. But I truly think my boys favorite is the eggnog. We toast to begin the Christmas season, we toast to end the season, and we toast many days in between. Dad toasts with root beer, but hey, he comes up with the sweetest, funniest, most touching thoughts to toast so we give him an eggnog pass:-)

    I hope each of you have a beautiful Christmas and a great New Year!!!


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