I consider myself blessed to have so many Christmas memories. The thought of Christmas brings a smile to my face and I have my parents to thank for that. But it’s not the presents that I’m smiling about – it’s the memories that I have – and many of those memories are because of “traditions” that my parents started many years ago. I have been talking a lot lately with friends and coworkers about Christmas traditions and it’s always fun to hear what other families do year after year. Here are some of my favorite Christmas traditions – old and new.
Matching Christmas Pajamas.
For as long as I can remember, my sister and I always had matching Christmas pajamas. As we got older, the goofier the pajamas, the better.
Character Names on Presents
When we were younger, my Momma got tired of us trying to figure out what was in our presents based on the size and shape. So instead of our names, every year there was a theme or movie or t.v. show that my Momma would select our names based on. For example, one year we were characters from the Flinstones, another year The Brady Bunch, and the list goes on and on. When it’s finally time to open presents after brunch on Christmas day, we sort the presents out and we have to guess which character name goes with each person. It’s absolutely hilarious to see us try to figure it out (especially after a mimosa or two) and there have been multiple incidences of my Momma forgetting who is who.
Sausage Balls and Monkey Bread
My Momma hosts Christmas brunch for all of our family every year. And every single year, I find myself elbow deep in a bowl of sausage, Bisquick and cheese after the Christmas Eve service. We’ve learned some lessons along the way and we know now to bake them the night before and reheat the next morning – they go so fast, multiple batches are necessary. Christmas brunch includes a few food items that I only eat once a year – monkey bread being one of them. Maggie and I used to tag-team when it came to Christmas brunch cooking. And we still do. I continue to be the one that makes sausage balls (with Momma’s help) and Maggie is in charge of the monkey bread.
Growing up, we would all get a new Christmas tree ornament each year. The goal was to create a small collection for each of us to have once we moved away from the “nest.” Big Guy’s parents did the same and so now our tree is full of memories from when we were growing up. I counted 7 flamingo ornaments last night. I guess you could say I had a thing for flamingos during a span of my life. When Big Guy and I first started dating, we began exchanging ornaments the Monday after Thanksgiving. So in addition to the old ornaments, our tree is full of new ornaments.
Late-Night Grocery Shopping
I know it sounds silly, but grocery shopping with my parents after Christmas dinner at Mimi’s on the 23rd of December has become the norm. I even came prepared last year and brought flats to change into – I had learned my lesson that a few glasses of wine and grocery shopping in heels don’t go well together. Even at 31, I ask my Momma to save the grocery shopping until I arrive into town. I’m not sure what it is about grocery shopping, but I love it.
Lately our Christmas’ reflect our growing family. And while sometimes it’s hard to accept that things change (I’m specifically referring to myself here), they do.
But as my dear coworker (and friend!) told me yesterday, Christmas isn’t a day; it’s a season.
And she is so right.
As I juggle families and wanting to be every where at one time, I have to remember to hold on to the moments that I do have with the ones I love. Live in the present. Celebrate when you can!
I didn’t mean to turn sappy, but as I was looking for pictures from the past, I ran across a couple of pictures from the last Christmas morning I shared with all of my grandparents. I have no idea what I got for Christmas that year. But I do know that our house was full of love, laughter and probably some chaos.
This weekend, Big Guy and I will celebrate Christmas a little early with my in-laws and his grandparents. And while Christmas is still two weeks away, it will be Christmas in my world all day Saturday.