All families have holiday traditions. Ours was no different growing up. And my Mom was the queen of holiday traditions. Every year, it took her 3 days to put up the Christmas tree. Then there was a big production of putting the ornaments on the tree. we would all gather and drink hot chocolate, Christmas music playing on the stereo, and all the ornaments that Mom had collected over the years.
Then there was the tradition of hiding Mom’s gift. She hated surprises and she would sneak and open the gifts, carefully undoing the tape. We caught her and developed a game. My sister and I would tell her when we bought her gifts, then we hid them mall over the house. If she found them, she would get to know what they were so she wasn’t surprised. If she didn’t we got the bragging rights. She always found the gifts. The last time we thought we almost had her…we hid the gifts so well and she said she nearly gave up. She said she looked everywhere…and finally found them hidden in the decorative pillow shams.
Then there were all the years that we got double gifts. Mom would always finish Christmas shopping early and hid the gifts…then she would forget where she hid them and have to re buy them. So every year, about March when she was doing the spring cleaning, she would find the ones she hid, and give them to us. We looked forward to her spring cleaning every year.
And the wrapping. She wrapped for at least a week. She would pull the gifts out at night, when we were all asleep. Or if she wrapped during the day, we would not be allowed in the room. We would have to knock and announce before she opened the door so we could enter. And the wrapping was always a fun mischievous game. There was no wrapping a box as it came, no. The box had to be re-boxed and disguised. There must be other things added, like candy so that when you shook the gift, you could not actually guess the contents.
She once wrapped a small ring in about 7 different boxes, each a bit bigger in size, until the last box was a giant box about 5 feet tall. It took my sister a while to open that gift. It was great. Then there were all the homemade bows and ribbons. Christmas wasn’t just about family and love, it was also about having fun.
But what do you do when you don’t have much family to have traditions with? I am not really sure, but maybe it is not about actual traditions, but the spirit and tone in which they are carried out. The memories, the smiles, the fun, and the games will always make me smile and warm my heart. While I am figuring out the new traditions in my life moving forward, this is still the best and happiest of all seasons.