Friday, December 17, 2010

What Christmas Means to Me

My Baby Rattle is now a tree ornament
Growing up in my home Christmas was always an intimate affair. I didn't have a gigantic mountain of gifts like other kids on my street. I didn't go to a bunch of different houses to open gives either. We usually just stayed at home, woke up early on Christmas morning and I'd open gifts once my grandmother came over. She lived next door so sometimes we'd go to her house to open more gifts afterwards.

I'd get special gifts that my parents knew that I'd like and would take care of for a long time. I don't know if it is something that only children do or maybe it was just me but I would always be quite careful with my toys and try to keep them from getting dirty or breaking so they would last a while. My mom still has some of my toy horses and stable in a closet somewhere. Most of them look new.

My parents never did the whole Santa thing with me. From the outset I was told that Santa didn't exist and where the gifts came from. I was taught to be grateful for what I received, even if some years it wasn't anything at all. We had enough to get by and somehow my parents always made Christmas special for me even when times were tough. I don't know how they did it.

Decorating the tree was always fun for me to do. I think once I moved out my mom didn't want to deal with it for a few years. Then she realized how much she liked it and got a small tree again to decorate. She gave me all the tree decorations so she had to go out and get more.

Each year we have a tradition too - the first person to surprise someone else by saying "Christmas Eve Gift" gets to open a gift on Christmas Eve. I always seem to forget and get phone calls with people blurting out "Christmas Eve Gift" before I even know what is going on!

Christmas Tree 2009
Moving out on your own and getting married has a tendency to change some traditions though. My husband and I do things low-key. I don't make a gigantic meal or really decorate the house much. I don't have children so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. We have our big meal at his parents house if I'm not in Tallahassee and then Christmas day we just relax at home. If we get hungry and don't feel like doing leftovers we'll go get Chinese or Waffle House. Mostly I spend the time watching movies with the doggies in my lap, crafting or reading books.

Generally we get 1-2 special gifts per person in our family. I'm trying to go more homemade so that I don't keep feeding the commercial machine out there demanding we go into debt each holiday. I managed to make 3 homemade gifts and purchase 2 homemade gifts for relatives this year which makes me feel good. Next year I hope to do more. 

So enjoy the holidays!  I'm doing some traveling and when I'm home I'll be quilting and relaxing.  

What are you doing this holiday season?  What are some of your family traditions that you love (or hate)?

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