Traditions are important to have in a family. Tradition provides stability in an ever changing world and gives your children something to count on and look forward to. It may surprise you, if you ask your children, what they think are your family’s traditions. It may also give you a little insight into what you should turn into a family tradition.
Now, I am a last minute Christmas shopper. This means that every year when my children were small I was up until at least 4 a.m. on Christmas Eve. You might be asking yourself why it would take until 4 a.m. to get the gifts under the tree…did I still have to set up and decorate the tree…did I have to travel somewhere to retrieve gifts that I had asked a friend to hide for me so my kids wouldn’t see them…did I have a lot of gifts to organize?
The answer is “No” to all of the above.
You see, I liked to decorate all of the gifts that I wrapped.
And I am not talking about buying bows and sticking them on, no, I had to make every bow myself. And, not only were there homemade bows that had to be stuck on the gifts but ribbon had to be wrapped around them in various ways depending upon the size and shape of the gift, and whether it was boxed or not.
I might even fabricate giant Christmas crackers out of the gifts. Oh yes, and then there were the little bits and pieces to be incorporated into the decoration – pine cones and holly berries and other “Christmasy” stuff. Every gift had to be a work of art before it went under the tree…a bit crazy? Maybe, but I liked everything to be pretty when the kids woke up in the morning.
One year when my children were older I thought about all the time and work that went into the gift decorating and how little time everyone actually spent ooing and aahing over my works of art. Hmm…went I…I think this is a waste of my time. Thus, the yearly tradition of making works of art out of Christmas gift wrapping stopped; it was back to store bought stick on bows for me.
The years went on and my oldest daughter now has a husband, a house and a Christmas of her own. Well, lo and behold, don’t we find beautifully decorated gifts under her tree! I really didn’t think much of it when it started happening because she is “into that sort of decorating thing”. Her home is beautifully decorated with colours that flow throughout; I am lucky if mine is ever freshly painted. It’s just not my “thing”.
I connected the Christmas gift works of art with that “decorating thing” aspect of her for many years until one day when we were talking. She said to me, “Mom, I always loved Christmas morning and seeing how beautiful the presents were. It wasn’t so important what was inside, just how beautifully they were decorated”. Wow!! What a surprise that was to me. I didn’t think anyone noticed the work that I did; I didn’t think that it was important to keep it up.
Do you have any favourite childhood memories of your family’s Christmas traditions? Please share them with us…maybe we’ll see something we’d like to add to make our family’s Christmas as special as yours.