n my family we open our presents on Christmas Eve. It’s been a tradition for many years. Gathering at grandma’s house around the tree, surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins was always the best part of the holidays.
After I left home and started my own family, we continued the tradition and started one of our own. When Christmas time is here, we will always choose a photo taken that year of a memory we always want to cherish and then we make it into an ornament. We have ornaments all the way back to 2003. I wish we had thought of it earlier, but we are grateful for the ones we do have and each one is unique.
Some of our photo ornaments are handmade, others we had professionally done. Some are just photos with a bow to put it on the tree, others were made into sleds, mittens and other kinds of ornaments. Each year as we pull out our ornaments and begin to decorate the tree each photo brings back wonderful memories. It allows us time to reminisce about the good times, laugh about the fun times, honor those who are no longer with us and look forward to creating new memories.
A friend of mine always knits blankets for family during Christmas time. She is so talented and each year the blankets go to someone different. The suspense of wondering who will get the blankets this year has had her family on edge with excitement.
Another friend makes cookies and sweet treats for her family every Christmas. Each year they all wait to get their tin of treats in the mail. As she bakes and lovingly packs up her creations she thinks of all her loved ones physically far away, but near and dear to her heart.
When I was little, one of our traditions was to set out cookies and milk for Santa Claus. Each year my sisters and I would bake some cookies with my mom and we would be sure to save at least three for Santa. On Christmas Eve, we would set them out on the table and each year on Christmas morning it was the first thing my sisters and I checked. Each year Santa ate our cookies and was sure to drink all the milk.
Anther fun tradition was to listen to the radio on Christmas Eve. My dad would sit all of us in the living room, turn on the radio and the radio broadcaster would tell us where Santa was. He would say Santa was having a hard time getting through the blizzard, or that the weather was perfect for Santa’s travels. At the end of his broadcast we could hear the bells on Santa’s sleigh and my dad would send us to bed to have dreams of sleigh bells and presents.
One year I was reading the “real” story of Christmas to my daughters about the baby Jesus. My daughter was maybe five or six at the time and she asked me, “mom if Christmas is Jesus’ birthday how come we never make him a cake?” From that year on, we baked a birthday cake for Jesus each year. When it was decorated and looking very pretty we would take it outside and sing happy birthday to Jesus. Every year the wind would swoop by and blow out the candles and the girls would giggle with excitement, saying Jesus made a wish and blew out his candles.
What are your holiday traditions? Write to me and let me know, I’d love to hear from you. If you don’t have any holiday traditions now is a great time to create a new one. Make it something you really enjoy. This way it’s easier to continue doing it year after year. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.
Tori Vigil is an author, inspirational speaker, and reporter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.