Family traditions are a wonderful part of Christmas. They are a major part of creating the anticipation and joy which is such a part of the holiday for children. Waiting for the day you will do the same thing you did last year. Singing that special song or eating that special food, reading the Christmas story, getting out the special decorations. As a child it is so special. Then you get married and become a parent and instead experiencing the traditions you you have to create them for your family. In those early years that task can be overwhelming but once you have a routine creating them can bring you as much joy as experiencing them.
Our traditions are a mixture of both our families and a few of our own. OK mostly they are just from my family and our own. I am working on adding a few of John's though. My family has lots of Christmas traditions on Christmas eve. My grandma had us over every year and did exactly the same thing every year. She kept the activities moving and made all us kids feel part of the party, actually like we were the whole reason for the party. Although Grandma has been gone for a few years we all still find a day in the Christmas season to get together and continue Grandmas traditions. But in my family, with my kids, Christmas morning is just for us and carrying on the traditions started in my family is so special to me.
My parents had beautiful stockings hand knit for our family with our names and the year they were made on them when we were little and with each new family member they have had a new one made with the year they came into the family. My husband's has the year we were married and my children the year they were born. I love to shop for fun things to fill them with for my children. Finding out what was in them each year was one of the joys of Christmas. It was never full of fancy or expensive things but always something fun. Notepads, pencils, lip gloss. It didn't matter the excitement of pulling out gift after gift and reaching down to the bottom of the stocking was the joy of the morning. We would come down to bigger gifts as well but the stockings were where the excitement lived for me. I love watching my children do the same thing.
But I can't help thinking of my mom every Christmas morning as I sit in my pj's wearing no make-up, hair everywhere, teeth unbrushed. Every Christmas she would complain about how bad she looked and would try to avoid getting her picture taken or ask us to wait for her to fix her hair before we opened gifts. It might not be very Christmasy but it was part of the morning tradition. Now I am the mom and, let's face it, Christmas morning pictures are not pretty. So I carry on the tradition, if only in my mind, of wanting to avoid the camera and wondering if I can get up early enough to get my face washed and hair done before my family starts opening gifts. Yet if I did, you would all be deprived of pictures like this of me showing off both of my new tea hats:
And we wouldn't want that. :)