Ever since I was a little girl I have always loved Christmas. I have never been concerned if I got gifts or not, I just love the season, the meaning behind Christmas, the lights and just about everything that comes with the season. I love Christmas so much that I usually start shopping in January and usually have everything wrapped by Thanksgiving.
This Christmas we were fortunate that we had both our daughters and their families here for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We did all of our family traditions and added a few new ones.
We start preparing for Christmas on Thanksgiving. This is when we pull out the tree, yes it is an artificial tree, I have a hard time cutting down a tree just to sit in my house for a couple of weeks when an artificial tree works just fine. On the morning of Thanksgiving, we pull out appetizers along with all the Christmas decorations and turn on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As soon as the parade is over football comes on in one room and Christmas movies in the other. Usually by the time the parade is over we have all the decorations out and ready to start decorating. I do the inside of the house and my husband heads outside to decorate outside. We spend the day decorating while also cooking our Thanksgiving meal. By the end of the day we usually have the tree up, gifts under the tree, part of our Christmas village, lights on the house and other decorations displayed throughout the house. We get up the next morning and finish our decorating jobs.
The day after Thanksgiving is when I start working on our Christmas letter as well as the Christmas cards. Our Christmas letter is really a family letter describing what we did for the past year. It is a lot of fun to work on as it requires me to look back over the year and remember all the great thinks that we did. After the letters are printed and the cards are addressed they are ready to be mailed. I usually wait until the following Monday to mail them, sometimes I’m too excited so they go out that day.
Once in a while we will go out and do some black Friday shopping but we wait until the afternoon in hopes that the crazy people have all gone home for some much needed rest. We start baking our Christmas goodies the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We plan out what times of goodies we are planning on making, who we are sending them to and who we are going to hand deliver to. We both enjoy this time. I always make my fudge, which is requested by many, my husband makes a wide variety of cookies. This process usually takes us several days but seeing the happiness on he faces of those we care about when we give them these goodies makes it so worth it.
At this point we are now able to enjoy Christmas movies. I have a set schedule of what movies I watch and I rarely go outside the box and change them up. I start off with Miracle on 34th Street, on to Elf, then onto Santa Clause 1, 2 and 3, after this it is time for both Home Alone movies and then if I’m lucky I watch Vacation Family Christmas. I always end my Christmas movie watching with White Christmas. In between watching the Christmas movies, I also watch Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and the Grinch. I like to do this with a big bowl of popcorn in my sweatpants with comfy socks on my cold feet.
One of the things we like to do as a family is load into the car and go look at Christmas lights. When the kids were young we would grab hot chocolate and just drive around various neighborhoods, as they got older we would go to Opportunity Village and the last couple of years we have headed to Ethel M. Chocolate Factory, who doesn’t like to get chocolate while looking at Christmas lights?
Something we have done a couple of times is draw names for a secret Santa gift exchange, take $20 and buy stuff for our stockings. It is a lot of fun. You have to spend all $20 and if you don’t then the remaining $20 goes into the stocking. This year we filled out questioners which helped a great deal when making your purchases. We then wrap them and fill our secret Santa stocking. On Christmas Eve we eat fried chicken with coleslaw and French fries. While eating our food we open our stockings from our Secret Santa. We have to guess who drew our name which is not always easy. The gifts are meant to be silly gifts, this year my husband drew my grandson’s name, he asked for food items such as Hamburger Helper, Shake n’ Bake and hot chocolate. So my husband got him Hamburger Helper, Shake n’ Bake, chocolate covered pretzels, hot chocolate and since he said that he liked the scent of vanilla he also got a room deodorizer. We all laughed because it was such an unusual gift selection but it’s what he wanted.
After everyone goes to bed the rest of the gifts are delivered by Santa Clause and the stockings are filled once again from Santa. When everyone gets up in the morning we eat cinnamon twist coffee cake, drink coffee or hot chocolate and then begin to open presents. This year our grandson was given the task of handing out the presents, he did such a great job. After all the presents are opened we spend the rest of the morning playing with our gifts and napping for those of us that got up way too early. One tradition that we stick to when opening presents is we save all the bows, I know bows are cheap but I have a hard time not reusing them so we save them and reuse year after year.
Christmas dinner has changed through the years. When our girls were little we used to have ham, mashed potatoes, rolls and a vegetable. We now have prime rib, backed potatoes, salad, rolls and a vegetable. We are not big dessert people so we either don’t bother to serve any or we have ice cream. This year we made hot chocolate ice cream, which was delicious. By the end of the day we are all tired but happy and content.
While our Christmas is busy we still take time to remember the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about presents, food or shopping, it’s about the birth of Jesus. While we enjoy all the traditions remembering the birth of Jesus is the most important part of the holiday season. I hope that your Christmas was as special as mine, God Bless you!