What I love About Christmas

December 3, 2007

copy-of-december-7-2006-7.jpg Picture from last Christmas

Wow, 21 days until Christmas. I am just about done. I have my hubby and my honorary nephew to buy for. Everyone else is done unless I come into some mula before Christmas.  I love giving presents. I love wrapping something that I hope someone will love and seeing them (hopefully happily) enjoy what they received.

As we get closer to the holiday I am feeling the buzz. My kids are so excited this year which makes it even more special for me. My husband put the Christmas lights outside this weekend. I can’t wait to see what they look like. It never gets old. I am always excited when Christmas lights are strung on the house. I can’t wait to get the tree and have the living room glowing with the warm, colorful lights that say Christmas is coming.  I remember when I was young my parents would take out the damaged, broken boxes of old dusty Christmas decorations and ornaments. I would get so excited to rummage through the decrepit boxes to gaze upon my favorite trinkets. Usually anything that sparkled or included a cute elf or horse was the first thing my eye was drawn to.  I loved our Christmas manger with its Mary, Joseph, Wise men, donkeys and baby Jesus. It had wood on the roof to make it look like hay and an angel overhead. The little windup box played Away in a Manger and we covered baby Jesus up cotton until the morning when he was born. More than my parents version I loved my grandmother’s manger. Hers was bigger and the figures weren’t glued down like my families. They could be moved and played with and Lord did we.  We moved them around and talked for them, put them in the back of barbie cars and fought over who played with what figurine.  

This year will be different for my little family. For the past 16 or more years I have headed to my in-laws house on Christmas Eve. Dinner was around 7:00 and kids ran amok until 12:00 a.m. when they were finally able to open all the gifts that are under the tree and I do mean ALL. My husband’s family and his cousin’s families all bring their gifts over to one home and open all the gifts together.  I never understood this tradition. It is such a frenzy. The kids are over tired and the over excited. Husbands and wives exchange gifts across a crowded room and thank each other from their respective corners.  It seemed so impersonal and even though we were often asked to bring our gifts to each other over we never did. We would leave there around 3:00 a.m. go home to our place, exchange stockings and then in the morning put on Christmas music, get some garbage bags, set up the video camera on a tripod and recorded ourselves exchanging gifts with a kiss and a thank you. I love looking back on these tapes as boring as it may be for an outsider. I get a lot of joy out of watching us love, respect and honor each other so completely. My kids have taken to watching these tapes over the past year and half. It is fun to walk into my son’s room and see the kids watching “Mommy and Daddy do Christmas.”

This year, as much as I love going to my in-laws and spending time with my nieces and watching the kids open all their gifts together I am keeping my family home on Christmas Eve. I want to show them a little of the magic I experienced as a child. I loved watching a Christmas movie with my family, putting out milk and cookies for Santa and heading off to bed eagerly waiting to hear Santa’s bells or his reindeer on my roof so I could catch him in the act of putting out gifts. I always feel asleep and in the morning was so upset that I had missed him. In the morning we would wait for our parents to get him by lifting my dad’s eye lids and shouting it’s Christmas. My parents had told us that if we headed downstairs without them all the gifts would disappear due to Christmas Magic.  I just want to give my kids a little of that feeling. That excitement of not being able to fall asleep because Santa was coming is something that is so short lived and impossible to do if we are opening gifts on Christmas Eve with colorful tags that read from Santa already under the tree when we arrive at our Abeula’s.  Leaving my in-laws last year after finally opening gifts and heading home with 2 kids at 12:30 a.m. Having them wake when the car door opens, putting them in bed and racing to get ready for the morning while still getting some sleep is ridiculous.  I am really looking forward to starting some old and some new traditions for Christmas Eve with my little family.     

Funny that this post started as what I love about Christmas and ended up being a wordy rant about doing things my way finally but oh well it is my friggin blog!

As a child Christmas meant being with family, obviously getting gifts, playing with my sisters, eating good food, going to church and singing with the choir, listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas shows.  What’s not to love?

The traditions I hope to continue with my own children are:

Putting up our Little People manger and covering baby Jesus

Watching Christmas shows

Reading a Christmas story

Making Christmas cookies and putting them out for Santa along with some milk and carrots for his reindeer

Throwing some oats and sparkles to the front door so they can find the way.

Putting a gold skeleton key with a red ribbon on our doorknob because our fireplace is closed off at the moment.

Writing Santa a thank you note

Adopting a Christmas Angel from the Post Office

Wearing Christmas PJ’s and heading off to bed with a “Santa’s coming,” “I love you” and a kiss

Waking in the morning to their excitement as they head out to the living room to excited to wait for Mom and Dad to put in their contacts and brush their teeth.

A flurry of wrapping paper and squeals of excitement when they open something they have been eyeing or talking about for the past 2 months.

Opening box after box containing too many wires affixing the toys to the highly marketed packaging.  

Making breakfast and putting together toys with too many parts.

It sounds like work but I can’t wait.

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