Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Traditions

Christmas photos of years past

In my family,  Christmas starts on Christmas eve at my Aunt Marcia and Uncle Bobs house.  When I was a kid, it was grandmas... when she got older, Bob and Marcia volunteered to host it, and it has been at their house ever since.  My grandma was German and they celebrated Christmas Eve.  I remember Grandma telling of her parents lighting the candles on the tree while Uncle Hans stood by with a big bucket of water in case of fire.  The candles only burned long enough for all the family to appreciate the beauty of the tree.  She said they decorated it with a lot of home made paper ornaments.  They would spend the time making paper chains and fans and painting acorns and stringing popcorn and cranberries to adorn a festive tree.   She taught me how to sing Oh Tannenbaum, and I remember many christmases where I walked down to the craft store and bought ornament kits.  My brothers and cousins and I would decorate them with pins and sequins.   My mom tells a story of my grandma dragging home some tumble weeds and spray painting them white so she and Uncle Bob could have a snowman in the yard,   Here where we live, we have to drive 3 hours to see snow.  I love my grandmas ingenuity and way of thinking outside the box.  I think that's where I got my love of making ornaments, along with a frugal holiday decorating style.

When I was little, it was the one time a year I got to see all my cousins.  Now the family has grown so much, many have their own christmas eve celebrations, but many of us still gather, now six generations from the original German Immigrants who started the holiday tradition.  Christmas doesn't feel the same without Spaghetti dinner and potluck sides.  Visiting with cousins I only see once a year, some every other year.  watching the excitement on the little kids faces when they all open up one gift.  It was the one thing that made the holiday gift anxiety easier as a kid, being able to open one gift on christmas eve.

I remember fondly the year I got canned mushrooms and my brothers got buckets of reindeer poop.  Or the year my cousin Tim told Grandma she should ask Santa for a microwave.  Or the fist year we celebrated without Grandpa, and then Grandma... how sad, and nostalgic everyone was...  and how now we tell our favorite stories.  Missing cousin Kathy and Aunt Pat... the excitement of new babies being born and keeping all of the Santa Magic alive...

My children, and husbands of christmas Past, (and husband of Christmas present) have always celebrated Christmas morning,   Opening gifts and a big breakfast before the kids go off to their dads house at 11 am.  It is a frantic free for all of gift opening, getting showered and dressed, eating breakfast and everyone going out the door.  Pascual and I enjoy having a quiet house from Noon on... sometimes we join other family members for dinner, sometimes we join friends for a dinner, but many times we just go to the movies and hang out... reflecting on the fun and often the hectic times that happen during the holiday season.  As I grow older, I am realizing that I will probably not keep doing the hectic shopping of years past.  I will probably just give money now that the kids are older, and let them all get what they want.  We are hoping to go to Spain next Christmas, where let me tell you, they KNOW how to celebrate a holiday season.  Starting with Christmas Eve, and carrying on for the 12 days of Christmas to Epiphany on January 6th, it is a fun Festivus season....

The other tradition we celebrate is cookie baking.  My kids love it, but with schedules the way they are, we don't all get together for it any more like we did when they were little.  I may have one here one day, and another the next.  It is rare for me to have all 4 of them home at once.. But it is a part of our holiday traditions that we can never miss.  Tomorrow I will be posting photos and recipes of all of our family favorites, cookies and breakfast.

1 comment:

Juniper Goods said...

Wat a great reminiscence of your holiday traditions. We just saw the nutcracker yesterday and in it they lite the tree candles. How fun! We also make Christmas cookies and my Dad would give us each our own tin filled with cookies. Now I make the cookies and tin them for the family. Thanks for sharing! Happy Holidays to you!