Thursday, December 22, 2011

Keeping and Making Holiday Memories

When we got older, my sister and I would decorate the house while our mom was at work. We would get all the boxes down from the attic and start unwrapping the carolers Mom made at ceramics class, taping the green string of lights into the shape of a Christmas tree on the picture window and setting up our fake Christmas tree. When she came home to the lights in the window, then Christmas in the house, she would always be able to relax a little more and enjoy the evening a little more. Even the one year we used roofing nails instead of picture nails to hang the garland, she was grateful for the transformation which always made our efforts that more gratifying. (Though we realized the nails were big, my sister and I didn't know enough to think about the holes they'd leave behind when they came out. Mom uses Command strips these days.)

Though my family and I celebrate Christmas, it's not actually Christmas Eve or Christmas day that I remember about growing up with the holiday. Instead, it's the decorating. Putting up the lights and the garland, wrapping picture frames to look like presents, cutting out snowflakes for the walls, trimming the tree. All those things stand out in my mind than most of the gifts I ever gave or received.

Now that I'm older with my own family, we are working to combine the Christmases that my husband and I grew up with. He's from Denmark where Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Even Santa comes a day early for them. They celebrate with family conversations, lots of food, wine, schnapps, and an almond desert that has only one whole almond in it and the person who gets it wins the Christmas prize. Presents are unwrapped. People join hands and circle 'dance' around the Christmas tree singing carols.

This year we are adding Christmas Eve dinner to our American celebrations, along with the pajama presents given yearly. Santa will still come on Christmas Eve. After opening Santa's presents at home we'll have breakfast at my mom's house while the kids open their presents from her, and the extras Santa dropped there. It is the first Christmas our 2 year old son is really grasping and I can't wait until he gets to live it along with his more experienced cousins. It will be interesting to see which day stands out more in my memory as time passes.

Are there any season related memories that you remember the most, or is the day of the holiday what comes to mind for you? No matter what holiday you celebrate this season, I hope you have plenty of fond memories that come to mind as you are making new ones.

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