As a kid, Christmas was always a big deal in our house. My parents went out of their way to make Christmas special for us every year. I still remember laying in my bed as a little girl waiting for Santa’s arrival. Would I hear him come into the house? Maybe I could stay awake long enough to catch a peek of the big guy, I never could though. The next morning, my brothers would come into my room and we would talk about who would go wake up our parents, even though we knew that 7:00 was the time we had to wait until, we would try to sneakily get them out of bed earlier than that, we were never successful. Regardless, when we entered the living room, we would always see what appeared to be a giant mountain of gifts and it was always magical because there was only 1 gift for each of us under the tree on Christmas Eve, which we would open before going to bed on Christmas Eve. I can still feel the surprise and wonder in my heart when we would come down the stairs and see the tree overflowing with gifts. Gifts from the dogs, from our horses, and always a gift of clothes from the Sugar Plum Fairy. I’m not sure if we really did receive a ton of gifts, or if it just seemed that way, for whatever reason, it was a special occasion in our household, but my most prized Christmas memories have nothing to do with gifts. In fact, there is not ONE gift that I remember receiving and I know I received a lot of them. My most prized memories are of how I felt at Christmas time. Like I said, my parents put a lot of effort into the holidays and Christmas always was a big deal.
We are only a week away from Christmas Day, plus we are readying ourselves for our 2 month road trip, and I find myself wandering – thinking about what the holidays mean to me. Every single year (for the past 5), I tell myself that we aren’t going to buy gifts for our grown kids anymore, but every single year, I struggle with it. I feel that if their mom doesn’t get them anything, they may end up with nothing. That is ridiculous and so not what Christmas is about to them or me, but I took my job as Santa very seriously (just like my own parents did) and I want whomever is their “Santa” to take it seriously as well. And now that they are all grown up and on their own, they are developing their own holiday traditions which I love watching unfold, leaving their children with beautiful memories of their holidays too. With both of my parents gone, I’ve been reflecting and thinking about my favorite holiday memories and would love to hear about yours. But here are some of my faves:
Gift tags – My dad went to the extreme when putting the tags on our gifts. He disguised his writing somehow and then he would write a little story, a hint, or a poem on every single gift we received. Before we could read, he would read the tags to us and once we were able to read them ourselves, we had to read them aloud and we would all yell what we thought the gift was. This was almost as fun as unwrapping the gift to see what was inside! I tried to do that when I had my own family, but I quickly realized how much extra work it was. Thank you, dad for those memories, but I’m afraid that the buck stops here on this one.
Calls from Santa – Every year about a week before Christmas and right up until Christmas Eve, we received calls from Santa and he knew everything we did both good and bad throughout the entire year. As I got older, I thought I’m gonna pop this scam right open, so I asked to speak to Mrs. Claus or the head Elf or the Sugar Plum fairy and there was always someone on the line to be that person. My dad must have kept notes on us all year to be able to tell “Santa” all the nitty gritty – to this day, I don’t know who Santa was, but another job well done Mom and Dad!
Christmas Carols – We would start listening to Christmas carols immediately after Thanksgiving which made my husband cuckoo because in Canada, Thanksgiving is in October, so I would start listening to them then. It has taken me 35 years to slowly realize that October is a tad early for carols, but isn’t it funny how Thanksgiving makes me think of Christmas carols even today?
Nothing was rushed, Christmas lasted all day – We would wait for our parents and we were allowed to open our stocking first thing in the morning, but then we would watch football and presents always came after football, usually mid-afternoon but always before dinner. When it came time to open our gifts, Dad was always Santa and he would hand out the gifts, painstakingly one………at……….a………time. This process took hours, because the rule was that we had to wait for one of us to finish opening the gift and take all the time needed to ooohhhh and aaaahhh the gift. Opening, touching, and usually playing with it while showing everyone else the many attributes of the gift before we moved on to the next gift. I will never forget my first few Christmases with my husbands family when they started helter skelter opening gifts FIRST THING IN THE MORNING WITH NO RHYME, REASON OR ORGANIZATION – my head almost exploded! But I got through it and I think I may have been shot if I made everyone wait until dinner time to open gifts!
There are other happy memories too – memories of writing the letters to Santa and the standard note for him on Christmas Eve and leaving out cookies, milk, carrots and pellets for the reindeer and we always left out a beer – because it was a long night you know. The only real food I remember were little cream cheese balls rolled in crushed peanuts. My brothers and I used to fight over who got to use the chopper for the peanuts – I tried to carry on this food tradition but nobody but me liked them, so I stopped after a couple of years! We do have some cherished Christmas Traditions in our house like the annual tree hunt, the Christmas Eve appetizer party, the crazy gift exchange and of course my husbands famous crepes on Christmas morning.
I also wanted to share with you some favorite holiday Essential Oil Diffuser recipes I love to pull out at this time of year – I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! If I don’t get back to my blog before Christmas, I wish you and your loved ones much joy and happiness – cherish those memories and hug your people tightly! Let them know how much they mean to you – making the moments count is one of the biggest gifts you can give to one another!
While we are in the spirit, what is your favorite Christmas memory or memories? Do share! I’d love to hear them!
Until Next Time!