Saturday was our family Christmas party. We have had this particular tradition for about 40 years. I know I can count on my sister’s homemade rolls (the size of a small loaf of bread!) and ham; Brian’s crab dip and the fudge made from my mother’s recipe.
I can also count on the chaos of a dozen or so children assembling gingerbread houses from milk cartons, covered in sticky icing that lets the candy gumdrops slide right off if you aren’t careful. Sometimes spitting is involved, used to settle a disagreement.
Then there is the tree. We pick a family member to lead the children in Christmas carols in front of the tree, while we adults look at the bubble lights and the ornaments that are our favorites. There is always one child that is a little shy and needs a hug from their grandmother, or an out-of-tune aunt or uncle who will chime in on their favorite verses.
And then it is time for the gifts. At Thanksgiving, we have picked a name from a hat, and for this party everyone has wrapped their name gift and piled it under the tree until there are so many it seems the tree will be lifted right off the floor! The children have of course spent much of the afternoon finding the gift with their name on it, and speculating on what it might be from a distance, since we have a “no touching” rule.
The level of excitement is at its peak when we end our caroling and ask a child to hand out the gifts. Everyone must wait to open theirs until every present is handed out.
And then the big moment arrives – the signal is given, and the air is filled in seconds with shreds of wrapping paper amid the exclamations of surprise and pleasure.
Every family has their traditions; whether Christian or not, holiday or not. Imagine how perhaps my great-granddaughter would enjoy reading this little note about our family celebration. A wonderful gift to your children and grandchildren would be for you to take the time this year to write down what you recall from your childhood traditions, and share it with them next Christmas!