Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Traditions, New and Old

I’ve been reading various blog posts about Christmas traditions.  I would read these and think to myself, we never really had such a thing growing up, and I don’t think we do now.  However, over this weekend, I was surprised into remembering several traditions that hold many fond memories.

Back in the day, we would travel to my aunt and uncles house many many miles away to celebrate Christmas.  It was a long drive, but we generally stayed at least a week and I loved spending time there, so it was well worth it.  I guess that in and of itself is a Christmas tradition, though it is not exactly what I was going for.

On Christmas Eve, we would be allowed to open one gift. One year I got a Garfield indoor tent.  It was just about the coolest thing ever, and of course I had to sleep in it right there in the living room.  Poor Santa must have had a very difficult time getting all those gifts under the tree while I was in dream land a few feet away.

Christmas morning, stockings would be opened first before breakfast.  These were always filled to overflowing with seemingly random gifts, but very personalized; comfy socks for my cousin with poor circulation, books for my mom who loved to read.  And of course, the greatest gift of all, the Lifesaver Candy book.  I have tried in vain for many years to find these little books, but the only thing I’ve come across contains Gummy Lifesavers, so not the same thing.

A coworker brought grapefruits in to work to share, and the smell brought back a very happy memory.  Every year, we would sit down to the world’s longest breakfast, it seriously lasted an eternity.  And on Christmas morning no less!  This breakfast would always start with each person eating half a grapefruit, I always applied plenty of sugar to mine.  These days, I rarely eat grapefruit, but whenever I smell one I am reminded of everyone gathering around the table four at least an hour, simply enjoying the company of family. Afterward we would adjourn to the living room for present opening.

I suppose it’s the simplest traditions that have the most meaning for me, because they often revolve around spending time with family.  As Tysen gets a bit older, I hope to carry on some of these with him because they remind me so much of my loved ones.

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