Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Today is the last day of the Holly Bloggy Christmas Bash and it has been so much FUN! I've found so many great blogs to visit time and time again and I hope that these gals will visit me as well. I've been so inspired by the array of ornaments--simple to elaborate; the assortment of crafts for all ages to enjoy; unusual handmade gifts; gorgeous trees and lastly--stories of traditions---those things that keep us rooted, that remain in our memories for many years to come and what we leave to future generations.

My family has many traditions, one of them being how we open our gifts each Christmas morning. When I was a child, the oldest (me) opened one gift and then went in order of birth with my dad being the last to open a gift. We continued like this until all the gifts were opened. This way we could all experience the joy of the recipient as well as seeing what they got. If we all opened our gifts all at once, it would be over in a matter of minutes and no one would know what anyone got. When I had children, I carried on the same tradition and we still do it. As a matter of fact, now that my parents have grandchildren, and we go down there for Xmas day, the youngest grandchild goes first and it goes "up" the line. Of course, because there are so many of us now, it can take quite awhile to open gifts, but we love it that way!

Another tradition we started about 10 years ago (maybe more) is cutting down our own tree from a local tree farm. We've always had a real tree, but once we moved to Maine and found out we lived so close to a Christmas tree farm, we took advantage of it. And although my girls are grown, they still want to participate. Once the tree is home, it's my husband's job to get it situated in the stand. Once it's exactly where I want it, it's my job to put the lights on. I put Christmas music on while Michael looks on. I already have my boxes and boxes of decorations sitting in the livingroom ready to be opened and put on the tree. My grandson, now adopted son, and my youngest daughter, sit back waiting for me to tell them that they can start. My husband always puts on a #8 fishing hook. Why? Because he loves to fish and that's his favorite hook. As we pull out each ornament, we think back on the story it holds, some of which I've already posted about.

On Christmas day, we open our gifts and then we put them aside to change and head down to visit my husband's sister in New Hampshire for a Prime Rib dinner. We've been doing that for 25 years now. We spend a few hours there and then we head down to Massachusetts to my parents home where the rest of the family is already waiting for us. No one opens gifts until we are all there to enjoy the magic...and mayhem!
All the grandchildren open their gifts from youngest to oldest and then they're off to play leaving the adults to enjoy a little bit of quiet and linger over our gifts. My sister and I are snapping pictures like crazy, trying to listen to a million conversations (I come from a big family), drinking wine, talking and ooohhing and aaahhing over the gifts. I love spending Christmas at my parents house.

Every Christmas, I create homemade gifts, scrap related of course! I also bake cookies and put together baskets for my sisters with an assortment of goodies. For years I've made ornaments as well, but not sure if I'll get to it this year.

Before we know it, the day has gone and we wonder where it went. So much preparation and stress and then it's over! I so wish the day would move slower. It's such a melancholy feeling for me as we pack our gifts into the car and drive back here to Maine. I sit back as Christmas carols, perhaps a few hours left until I have to wait 10 months to hear them again, play in the background and I think of what will happen in the coming year. And I thank God for giving me another great Christmas.

I'm wishing all of you and yours a very merry and blessed Christmas!

Michael pulling our tree (this year) through the lot.

An explosion box I made for my brother Andrew.

My mother and my sister, Sherri, last Christmas

I'm linking up with Cheryl at Tidy Mom who is hosting today's event. Thanks Cheryl!


TidyMom said...

Great memories and traditions!!
You're right so much work and stress and it's all over so fast isn't it?!

Thanks for linking up! Merry Christmas!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

We open our gifts the same way, and love being able see what everyone receives, and have time for a thank you after each one. I enjoyed your post very much - thanks for sharing all your traditions.

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

Looks like you found a great tree out there in that snow! And I love how your pine cone ornament turned out. Think I will give it a try!

The trifle looks to die for...

Stay Cozy, Carrie

Pamela said...

Great pictures! :)

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

What a touching and moving story. I love traditions and yours is certainly a very special one. Your family is beautiful..thanks for stopping in to say hello. Pop in any 'ole time..hugs ~lynne~