Recently, I was chatting with some friends about holiday traditions. After talking about a few, I thought it might be fun to share my family's traditions with you all (both of you that read this blog:). In no particular order...
1) Christmas Eve pajamas: When I was a little girl and growing up, my two sisters, my brother and I always opened one present on Christmas Eve night. It was new, cozy pajamas. Even though we knew the present would be pjs, we were still ridiculously excited to unwrap our presents, try them on and wear 'em to bed that night. Of course, I carried on that same tradition with my own little girl. Now that she is 19 years old, I still buy her a cute, soft set of pjs. She too opens them on Christmas Eve and she is STILL excited. This year, I sent the new, wrapped pjs to Florida for her. We won't miss her opening up her treasure though. We are going to connect with her via Skype and keep the traditions alive on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.
2) Christmas Eve celebrations: Each year we attend our church's service at Life Center North. It is always a true Christmas message, complete with beautiful music and worship. After church, we spend the evening at my parent's home with my two sisters, six nieces and nephews. We start with a casual dinner like salad, cold cuts or pizza. We keep it simple so we can spend our time visiting, not cooking. Eventually we exchange and open presents together, watch a movie and enjoy my oldest sister's delicious holiday goodies for dessert. It is always a warm and sentimental family time that I look forward to each year.
3) Stocking stuffers: Growing up, our stockings were always bare until Christmas morning, hung from the fireplace mantel. My mom would wait until Christmas Eve to wrap and stuff our stockings full of fun costume jewelry, shiny lip gloss, stationary, other trinkets and some useful crap like masking tape, scissors, oranges and pencils too. Whatever went missing from my mom's supplies throughout the year, we'd inevitably find in our stockings as presents. Witty woman, my mom. I didn't carry on this tradition to my daughter quite the same. Although I don't fill her stocking until very early Christmas morning, like my own mother, that is the only similarity. Lyara sets her empty stocking on the end of her bed on Christmas Eve. I wait until she is asleep and then take it and fill it up with unwrapped gifts and replace it. Greg and I do the same thing for each other. When she wakes up on Christmas day, the first thing Lyara does is come into our room, lay on the bed and we take turns pulling our treasures from our collective stockings. This is Lyara's favorite tradition. You know why? It is a constant in so many ways... the way it works each year is the same; the insides are basically the same too, except the gifts mature as she matures. Items she can always count on: new undies and lippie from V.S., magazines, Sudoku, candy, gum, shower loofah, lotions, hair ties, and varying cute girlie stuff. Yup, this year she opened a Christmas stocking before she left for Florida AND we sent a stocking to her for Christmas morning there. Again, we will try to capture the moment with her long distance-wise.
4) Christmas breakfast: Several years ago, when we built our first home in Eagle Ridge, we started asking my parents over for breakfast. Also, my parents really wanted to see Lyara enjoy Christmas as only a child can do and they knew she would be happily indulged. Now it's just what we do. I make some pastries, juice and coffee and we celebrate together and I love it.
5) Christmas dinner: Since Greg's parents live just outside of Cheney, we don't see them as often as my family. As long as we've been together though, we have spent Christmas afternoon and evening with Nan and Dah Gallagher. Years ago, when all the kids were young, we would gather with the eight adults and six kids and open presents, play games and eat a meal with one another. As the kids have become young adults, the tradition has morphed a bit, but we still manage to spend the day with the Gallaghers. Lots of fun!
6) New Years: Usually, we don't have a traditional New Years celebration with our families. Greg and I normally welcome the new year with friends at one party or another. However, as any good, superstitious British man would do, my husband follows a routine at midnight or shortly thereafter... First, Greg calls his mom and wishes her a happy and healthy new year at midnight, no matter where we are. If we are out celebrating, I call Lyara and then my parents to give well-wishes. When we get home, we open the back door to our home and "let out the old". Next, we open the front door and "let in the new". Sorta sweet, isn't it?