Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Traditions

I grew up with amazing Christmases on both my mother's side of the family and my father's.  Once we moved from Iowa to first Kansas and then Missouri, we came back for Christmas as often as we could.

 My Grandma and Grandpa Sears held Christmas Eve dinner at their house and my father's 8 brothers and sisters would gather together over spaghetti and the kids would open presents. It was and evening of laughter and fun.  My grandmother's tree was festive and she made so many of our wonderful presents.  She was a good cook and a wonderful seamstress.

My Nana and, while he was alive, Gaga would host Christmas Day but we opened gifts Christmas Eve after returning from Grandma Sears'.   Christmas Eve was the only time my Nana allowed spirits in the house...the adults got a glass of sherry to celebrate.  I still have the glasses she used. My Nana always had a box of chocolate covered cherries in her fridge during the holidays and I buy a box every Christmas eating one a day in her memory.

My mother had her traditions as well.  One was her annual baking of Christmas cookies that she would hide from my sister and I until Christmas time.  One year she hid them so well, we didn't find them until Easter.  And then there was the year she decided to make candles to give as gifts.  Unfortunately the wax stopped up the sink and the plumber had to be called.  She made NOEL signs for all of us kids one step dad, Joe, called them Leons and told us to hang them upside down.  She also made funny reindeer out of palms.  I still have both and put them up each year.

 When the kids and I were first on our own after my divorce, we "invented" our own family turkey at Christmas.  We had steaks.  We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve and the stockings were for Christmas morning.  The kids started my village which echoed the one my Nana use to have under her Christmas tree in Waterloo.  E and I have expanded it from the original four houses on our  fire place mantle in St. Louis to this...and we hang the stockings on the front as we no longer have a fireplace.

E and I established our own traditions when he and I married.  Each year we take one day and hunt for a couple of new ornaments for our tree.  We either go out to dinner or out to lunch.  Here are the ornaments we found this year to add to our collection. 

We have added E's mother's nativity to our home decorations.  And our scene is watched over by an angel that was given to me by one of the Women Who Do Lunch bunch, Lady Di.

We put the Santa hat on the Tiki God of Beer each year.  He is slowly rotting from the inside out but hopefully he can last at least one more year.

Now that our holidays are enriched by our 3 Grands, we've shifted Christmas Eve to their house for the main gift giving and Christmas Day at ours.  No turkey has remained and this year E is fixing us a standing rib roast.  We open the stocking gifts on Christmas Day and E and I open ours to each other early that morning over coffee in front of our tree.  This year, in addition to the Grands, their folks, Rob, E and me, our dear friends, Jo and Bill from St. Louis,  will be joining us.  Hopefully, this is just the first year of celebrating with them.

We added a new tradition last year at E's suggestion.  The Grands have their very own tree and lots of unbreakable decorations for it.  We added a puppy ornament for Landon this year, a car ornament for Colvin and the angel topper for Leighton.  It has long been E's tradition to give Kristen an angel as his nic-name for her has always been Angel Child.  He is passing the angel giving on to Leighton this year.

I have such wonderful memories of Christmas from my childhood and I am hoping the traditions we have kept and the new ones we have added will provide my grandchildren with memories as wonderful as mine.

Tomorrow (or so)I'll post the pictures from another fairly new tradition of my daughter's and mine...the Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade.


LyndaKay said...

Loved reading about your sweet Christmas traditions, old and new. Enjoy them again this year!

Janet M said...

Sounds like some good memories from the past and some wonderful new ones being created.