Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Traditions

For the first time since Liam was born, we are travelling for Christmas.  We are heading home to my mom's house, the house I grew up in, to spend Christmas with her.  Some of the magic of Christmas for me is the traditions, those from my own childhood, Hilary's childhood, and those that we have started with our family's generation.

Here are my top 10  favourite traditions:

1) Lying under the tree and looking up at the lights
  • While I'm way to big to do this as effectively as when I was little, there is still something magical about watching the twinkling lights through the branches.
2) Putting up the Christmas tree Christmas eve
  • This tradition comes from Hilary's family.  There is something fun and wonderful about putting the tree up on Christmas eve, carols playing in the background and wonderful smells wafting from the kitchen.
3) The Christmas Pickle
  • We got our Christmas Pickle a few years ago.  The tradition is that someone hides the pickle shaped ornament on the tree and whomever finds it first gets the "pickle present". Our pickle present every year is usually a new Christmas music ornament like a snow globe.  We have quite the growing collection now.
4) The Christmas Key
  • Since our house doesn't have a fireplace, Santa has to have someway to get in.  So we leave the Christmas key on the outside of the house - don't worry, it's completely safe, only Santa's magic can open the door, so no intruders can get in.  Then after Santa has left the presents and filled the stockings, he leaves the key on the Christmas tree.
5) Stockings on the end of your bed
  • This is another Hilary tradition.  Santa very carefully sneaks into your bedroom and leaves your filled stocking on the end of your bed.
6) Pizzelles
  • Pizzelles are homemade Italian cookies that my Grandma and my mother have made for Christmas every year for as long as I can remember.  Mom bought me my own press a few years ago and now I continue the tradition.
7) Watching  The Polar Express
  • This is such an amazing, enchanting movie.  I'm not truly in the holiday spirit until I have curled up on the couch and watched this.
8) Christmas cracker crowns
  • We always have Christmas crackers at Christmas dinner.  My favorite part is the paper crowns that come with them.  It gives the table such a fun festive look when everyone is festooned in a variety of coloured paper hats.
9) Table Presents
  • Another Hilary's family tradition.  We do this one at other holidays too.  After you open your Christmas cracker and put on your crown, everyone gets to open their table present.  Fun, little gifts that are meaningful to the receiver, or a new toy to help the little ones make it through a long meal.
10) Staying up too late Christmas Eve getting everything ready
  • I still remember the first Christmas that I was deemed old enough to hang out with the grown ups and help set up everything Christmas eve after the little kids were all tucked into bed.  As a parent, this has taken on a whole new meaning - one usually filled with cursing, screwdrivers, over packaging of toys, poorly written directions and wine.  No matter how organized we lead ourselves to believe we are, there always seems to be a 1001 one things left to do in the wee hours of the night.

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