Growing up we had fun but simple family holiday traditions around this time of year. Christmas was always a holiday I looked forward to. My parents would go all out and set up a huge (real) tree, we actually went out and cut one down with our dad a couple of times when we were young. We lived in the country for a while so trees were easy access back then.
The tree was always beautifully done up with decorations and lights we weren’t allowed to touch. We dressed up in fancy holiday clothes and had guests over bringing us gifts, but my favourite part of the holiday season was Christmas Eve. Partially because I had been waiting for Santa all year long but also because it was the time of year we spent with the people who meant the most to us every day – our family.
We would all gather at my Granny’s place on Christmas Eve, she always decorated with what she had, antique decorations and a tree my Grandpa cut for her off his lot. They lived in the country so it was easy for him to take a walk with his saw and go get that tree. They always made the house look and smell great, every year.
My cousins, aunts and uncles would all be there. Adults in the kitchen, laughing and cooking while us kids stayed in the other room watching Christmas specials on television, trying not to get on each others nerves. The younger kids would always bug the adults every five minutes about when it was time to finally open the gifts sitting under Granny’s Christmas tree. They would always make us wait until after the great Christmas Eve feast.
I remember the Christmas Eve dinner my Granny would cook up. Delicious turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls and everything else you can think of. We always brought deserts to share, Christmas cookies and fruit cakes. Gifts were never anything huge, back then our grandparents lived on a tight budget so when it came to holidays like Christmas they would rather spend on serving a good meal than luxury gifts we wouldn’t need. That was how they were raised, which is nice.
There isn’t a Christmas that goes by where I don’t miss my grandmother’s meals and my grandfathers “just so tall” Christmas tree but I always think back and remember the smiles and laugher they brought me throughout my childhood, the same ones I want to see in my own children on Christmas and every day.
Christmas is spent in different places these days. Be it at one of our parents places to siblings or even at home just the four of us, we celebrate but this year is going to be different. We are starting our own tradition this year – Christmas eve at our house. For once, almost the whole family will be under one roof to clink glasses, exchange gifts and celebrate another Christmas to remember.
The holiday season isn’t about the gifts you get or give, the size of the meal you eat or how beautifully decorated your home is. Although all of that stuff is nice, it’s easy to get swept away in the material rush. In the end, it’s about the people under the roof when you’re celebrating. Traditions and fond memories in the making. That is what I remember about holiday traditions growing up.
What are your holiday traditions?