Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Traditions - Part One: Trees & Stockings

We're getting pretty excited around here with the impending visit from the big man in red. Little Boo has been counting down the sleeps til Christmas since just about the day after Hallowe'en. Yeah, that hasn't gotten old.

I've been thinking a lot about Christmases past and what our traditions were in my childhood. Lots of wonderful memories tumbling about in my head.

For instance, we always had a real tree.  A big spruce that we would go out and cut down ourselves. I remember my brother and me getting all bundled up in our snowsuits and tromping through the woods with our father and grandfather. And a chainsaw. Good times. I've always loved walking in the woods in winter, but when the hunt for the perfect tree was added in, that made the day all that much more special. And our tree was always perfect. Nicely spaced branches for ornaments, perfect triangle shape, nice and even. At least that's how I remember it. I also remember that my great-grandmother always had a fat squatty kind of tree, with a funny rounded top. Maybe it was a pine or something else, but I never understood why she got one that shape.

Anyway. When I was very wee, Santa would decorate our tree when he came to deliver the presents. That made for a super exciting Christmas morning! Eventually he passed that task back to my parents so that we could have a beautifully decorated tree for all of our Christmas Eve visitors. I'll come to that in Part Two.

Of course, my brother and I were never allowed into the living room with the presents without our parents. They didn't want to miss a second of that. And we were very well trained. Santa always left our stockings on the foot of our beds to keep us occupied for a while. When we lived with our grandparents (until I was 5) the tradition was that we would take our stockings into bed with them in the morning. That gave my parents an extra half hour to sleep. That was such a special cozy giggly half hour.

When we moved into our own house, Nan & Pop came to stay with us each Christmas Eve. Nan shared my bed (brother joined us with his stocking in the morning). Pop slept on the couch. One year, he woke up when Santa came down the chimney and told us all about it the next day. Wow. He was soooo lucky. And apparently Santa was quite the nice man.

One year I was having an extreme amount of trouble getting to sleep. It was bad. They tried everything. My mom was panicking (she'd be up all night if I didn't sleep soon!) I was panicking (Santa won't come if I'm awake!) I think there may have eventually been a little shot of rum or something to calm me down. But I guess I slept fitfully because when I woke in the morning .... there was NO STOCKING!!! I burst into tears. Clearly I'd ruined Christmas by not sleeping on time and Santa didn't come and there'd be no gifts and it was all my fault and .... My grandmother gently suggested I get out of bed and check on the floor. Yup. Sure enough I'd just kicked it off the bed in my sleep. Whew! Christmas was saved.

There was so much magic in my childhood Christmases. I really hope we are making and have made some magical memories for our boys as well.

What's your fave memory from Christmas past? Any Santa encounters or close calls? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

I'll be back tomorrow with Part Two: Visitors & Family


  1. I was actually just about ready to write a post on how I would love to carry on the tradition of baking in my home with everyone involved. Sadly, my son wasn't interested and my husband was only interested in eating them right out of the oven...sigh.
    I love the idea of the stockings on the bed though. I also love the idea of sleep ;)

  2. Sleep is good :-)

    Sorry that your brood isn't into the baking. Little Boo really enjoys it ... for about 10 minutes. But that's about as long as he spends on most things, so I guess it's not bad. Life with boys!


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