There are many wonderful winter holidays, most of which come with traditions that usually involve family and loved ones. In my family, we celebrate Christmas. Some may find our Christmas traditions odd, but I cherish our odd little traditions. I hope that you too have weird little ways that you share time with family and celebrate your Holidays as well, because I think it is in celebration of our oddness that we truly appreciate each other. So for today’s blog, I wanted to share just a few of the Lamy Christmas Traditions from my childhood and beyond.
Cutting Our Own Tree
Growing up, we always cut down our own Christmas tree from the forest across from our house. Going out into the woods as a family to pick our special Christmas tree sounds really charming and romantic until you realize that attractive Christmas trees do not actually exist in nature. In order to get our “dream tree”, my Dad had to scale a 30’ tall pine and lop off its pointy top with a chainsaw! This produced what we aptly referred to as our Charlie Brown tree due to its odd shape, lack of greenery and general pitifulness. I imagine this tradition also left our forest full of sad headless pine trees for the rest of eternity. Um, oops.
According to family legend, one year on our annual trek, my brother, maybe five or six at the time, broke free of my mom’s death grip and ran over to see what Dad was doing way up in that tree at the exact moment that the tree top broke free and came tumbling down…directly on top of him. Mom said he just disappeared into the branches as the tree flattened him. Miraculously, he emerged unscathed, covered in slobber from our dog who frantically helped dig him out from under the tree. Charming and romantic, right? Surprisingly, this was NOT the last year we cut our own tree, but as far as I know, no one else was ever flattened by a tree.
Trimming the Tree
Despite our constant whining about getting one of those “store bought” beauties, we did truly love our ugly, misshapen trees and decorated them each year with handcrafted ornaments made of macaroni, clothespins and cotton balls and even painstakingly crafted strings of popcorn and cranberries to help fill the bald spots. I have such fond memories of watching Christmas movies and drinking Mom’s homemade eggnog, while inevitably and repeatedly pricking our tiny fingers on the needles as we strung the long strands of popcorn and cranberries. Christmas is just not Christmas until somebody bleeds, right? Well, fond memories or no, nowadays, I eat all the popcorn before it makes it on the tree, and use the cranberries to make bread, but many of those macaroni masterpieces still hang on my Christmas tree to this day.
My all-time favorite tradition happens on Christmas morning. When I was little, my brother, sister and I were given strict instructions NOT to set foot on the stairs until 6 a.m. So we would gather in the hallway upstairs whispering and waiting impatiently as the minutes ticked by. Once the clock tolled the magic hour of six, we rushed down the stairs, not to tear open gifts, but to grab our stockings and head into Mom and Dad’s bedroom to snuggle up on top of the covers while we opened our stockings. There was something indescribably special about sitting in our jammies on the “big bed” and opening up all of the little treasures Santa had stuffed in our socks. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized the genius of my parents’ plan to delay getting up as long as possible, but by that time, the tradition was set.
The tradition remained unchanged for me until I got married. My first married year, my husband and I were invited to sleep over my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. My little sister stayed the night as well. Only my big brother was missing now that he had his own little one to spend Christmas morning with. Despite being now in my twenties, come Christmas morning at 6 am, you can bet I was bouncing up and down on my little sister’s bed ready to go down and grab our stockings. Into my parents’ bedroom we went, stockings in hand, still in our jammies, ready to snuggle up on the big bed to open our stockings. Only then did I realize that my poor husband was standing awkwardly in the doorway, not quite knowing what to do with himself! Turns out he thought getting up on my parents bed in his jammies was weird. Go figure! Being the amazingly good sport that my husband is, I still keep my Christmas morning tradition of sleepovers and stockings, but now we open our stockings in a more civilized manner…in the living room in our pajamas. Totally civilized.
What odd little traditions do you have for your Holidays?
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Holiday Season that is FULL of tradition!