Monday, December 23, 2013

Chrismas Morning {From the Pespective of H}

Happy Christmas Eve's Eve!!! 

I can't even believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve!  The Mr & I have to work tomorrow from 9-1 (booo!) but I'm thankful that's it's only a 1/2 day!  Then we are headed to his parents for Christmas with his family. 

The Mr's family tradition is to "do Christmas" on Christmas eve.  The way I understand it (and if I'm wrong, he'll let me know after He reads this), they always opened their presents from family on Christmas Eve, and Christmas day was reserved for Stockings & "Santa's Presents".  And "Santa's Presents weren't wrapped either, they were just placed under the tree, which is so weird to me!

That is NOT how Christmas went down at our house.

Christmas Eve we always had a Christmas Eve Service at our Church.  Since the 3 of us girls are musically inclines, we were all involved in the program.  J would normally sing or do a number on the piano, K would normally sing, and normally I would play the piano, but I also dabbled a little bit with singing or miming/interpretative dance, but normally just a Piano Piece!

After the Christmas Eve service we would drive up "on the hill" to my Aunt's house and spend an hour or two visiting with them.

When we finally made it home we would just kind of lounge around.  When we were younger we would BEG my dad to let us open just one Christmas Present.  If we were allowed to open one, it would be a pair of new PJ's.  But, I can't remember that happening more than a handful of times.

My parents would make us go to bed, except J.  She was the oldest and she often got to stay up and help my mom wrap presents, who would save all of her wrapping until the evening of Christmas Eve.  

We were NOT one of those families who were allowed to get up at the crack of dawn and open presents.  In fact, we weren't allowed out of bed until 7:00.  Then, and only then, were we allowed to quietly go downstairs and open our stockings.  Being the youngest, it was usually up to me to wake up K (the middle), and the two of us would drag J out of bed.

At 8:00 we were finally allowed to go and try to get our parents out of bed.  They were of course awake, but they just liked to give us grief.  They (and by they, I mean my dad) tried to implement the rule that we had to all be dressed and have had eaten breakfast....but it was 3 against 2, and us girls normally won that battle.

Before we started opening presents my Dad would always open up His bible and read of the Christmas story to remind us all the most Precious Gift was the Gift of Jesus.

Around, 8:30-9:00 we would get to start opening gifts, and it was a one-by-one routine.  I would normally get to start (one perk of being the youngest), and then we went around in a circle opening one gift at a time.  And somehow, every year, without fail, K would always have 4-5 presents left at the end to open up when the rest of us were done.  It would take forever, but now that I am older, I understand why my parents did it this way!  It's SO much fun to get to see other's open the gifts that you so carefully thought out and planned!  If everyone was opening at the same time there is no way that you get to enjoy it! 

I don't remember ever believe in Santa.  The only Christmas that I even remember there being a "gift" from Santa was a gift that J received.  It was taped with masking tape and there were several different pieces of wrapping paper used to wrap it.  The label said "from santa", but we all knew that it was from my dad.

One of the most special things about Christmas day was our very last present.  Every year we each got a present that was just from my dad, and it was almost always guaranteed to be jewelry.  I was fairly young when this started, maybe around the age of 12?  But each of us looked forward to it every year.  Let me tell you what, my Dad has some pretty good taste in Jewelry!  Then one year, it just stopped.  We all pitched a fit, and my dad said, "It's not my responsibility to buy you jewelry, that's your husband's job."  Then I chimed in with something like, "Wait a second, I'm not married yet!".  So the tradition got to be continued on with me for a few more years.  The last piece of Jewelry that I received from my dad was the bracelet that I wore on my wedding day. 

When the last present was opened, the clean up began.  We normally tried to get all the wrapping paper in a large box as we were unwrapping,  but there was inevitably the wads of paper that got chucked randomly at each other during the unwrapping process.

At this point we were all pretty hungry, so somehow the tradition got started of everyone pitching in and making Christmas morning brunch.  It usually consisted of steak, eggs, & toast.  

When my Mom's parents were still alive, we would go and visit them Christmas afternoon.  Grandma P gave us an ornament every single year.  When my mom moved out on her own, she didn't have anything to decorate her tree with, so she started the tradition that we each got an ornament for Christmas so that when we started our own home we would have ornaments to decorate our tree with.  My Grandma P. joined in on this tradition as well. 

My Dad's Parents, Gramms & Gramps, spent their winters in Florida, so unless we happened to be in Florida for Christmas, which only happened a few times that I can remember, we would each spend some time on the phone with them!

Do you want to know what my absolute favorite part of Christmas was and still is?  Finding the perfect gift for each person on my list.  When I was in elementary school, my Sunday School Teacher would plan a trip for us to travel to the city and go to this massive dollar store.  I would agonize over each and every gift making sure that it was just the right gift. 

To this day, I start thinking and planning my Christmas gifts in the spring.  I'm not even exaggerating a little bit.  I almost get stressed out until I can come up with the perfect gift for everyone on my list.  I'm close to being obsessive about it!  This year my Brother-in-law (The Mr's Sister's Husband) caused me the most stress.  Some things have gotten a little easier for me.  For example, I usually can get my sisters the same thing, and it always works out really well!  Some things have stayed equally challenging...aka, my parents, especially my dad.  J, K, & I usually end up banding together and getting them a "together" gift.  And Some things have gotten way harder.  Now I have a husband to figure out.  Not only do I have to figure out a Christmas gift for him, it's now MY responsibility to come up with gift for each member of His family.  My brother-in-law & father-in-law have to be the hardest people to come up with a gift for.  I am not a "gift carder".  I don't mind getting a gift card, in fact, I LOVE getting gift cards.  But I generally REFUSE to give people, especially family members.  I feel like they are really impersonal, and Christmas presents are something that should be thought out, unique and personal! 

What are your family's Christmas traditions?  What's your favorite part of Christmas?


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  1. It's interesting to see the difference in traditions from family to family. My family's traditions sound a lot like yours in some ways, though in Malaysia, they always have church services and Christmas programs on Christmas Day itself instead of the eve, so we changed a bit when we were there--but we always open presents one by one, youngest first (which meant I always had to wait a while!)
    Angel's family stays up till midnight Christmas Eve, actually I guess they go to midnight Mass first (some years) and then open presents as soon as they come home--in the middle of the night!

  2. I think it can be hard some times merging two different traditions when you get married. Ask me sometime about the singing Christmas lights in our marriage. ;) Growing up we did things similar to your family, except we never left the house on Christmas day. And we were forced to eat breakfast before opening any presents. When we got up we could open our stockings right away, which always had a little present or two inside, but then we had to wait for the rest of the present opening until 1. We all sat down together and ate a big family breakfast. 2. we cleaned up said breakfast 3. my mom took a bath and got dressed (we all had to get dressed at this point too) 4. we read the Christmas story from the later years when my younger siblings were older they would act out the story with a nativity. Sometimes this would result in having to read the story more then once. Then we could finally start opening presents, which went one by one like your family. As our kids are getting older we are starting more of our own traditions, which is fun. Merry Christmas Hillary and JT. :)


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