Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas - Take 1

My husband and I have different traditions for celebrating Christmas, as most married couples do. His family has traditionally celebrated on Christmas Eve and mine on Christmas day. When he was young his family used to go to Mass on Christmas Eve and come home to find that Santa had visited, so they would open presents from Santa and enjoy them until late at night. In more recent years, his family has spent Christmas Eve at the Farm, where Santa visits on Christmas Eve. All the grandkids play downstairs, the moms put out the kids stockings with gifts upstairs, one of the uncles or my father-in-law dresses up as Santa, stomps loudly on the floor, yells "Ho-Ho-Ho" and then runs like heck towards the lake, so as the kids run upstairs they just catch a glimpse of him from the deck as he runs off to get into his sleigh. When I was young we would put out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer and go to bed on Christmas Eve, barely able to sleep for the anticipation. Then we would wake up and drag my parents out of bed, and race downstairs to see what Santa had left us while we slept. We would play all morning with our new loot and always ate creamed eggs for breakfast. Yum.

Since we have been together, hubby and I have done different versions of these two traditions, depending on when we were able to travel to be with our families. These days we typically go to visit my family for a week in early-mid December, as we just did last week. That's a good time for my husband to get a week off work and we can have a good long visit with my family, who live a bit farther away than my hubby's family. Then we usually go to the Farm to have Christmas Eve and Christmas day with his family, if possible. The Farm is closer so it works better for a shorter trip. At times we have stayed home for Christmas because of my husband's work schedule and traveled to the Farm for a weekend near Christmas. It didn't really matter too much to us when "Santa" came. We just like to spend as much time as possible with family around the holidays. But now that we have Miss and Lass, and Miss is getting to the age where she is understanding some of the holiday celebrating and fun things, I am feeling the need to observe traditions more. I've been trying to figure out a good way to blend my husband's family's and my family's traditions. What I've come up with is that we'll pretty much need to continue doing what we've been doing, with a few special traditions added in that aren't dependent upon where we are or when we exchange gifts (more on these later). We will likely still make the long trip to visit my family and then spend Christmas with his family when Christmas falls on a weekend as it does this year. When Christmas is on a weekday and my hubby can't get two days off, we will have Christmas at home. When at the Farm, we'll do his family tradition of Santa coming while the kids are still awake on Christmas Eve. When we're at home, we'll do my family tradition of Santa coming while our girls are asleep.

This year, since the girls are so young and won't know that it doesn't really work this way, I decided to have Christmas both ways. While at my parents' house we did Christmas in my family's tradition. Miss and I made cookies and put some out for Santa on Christmas Eve before she went to bed. We also put out a glass of milk and some carrots for the reindeer. I put her and Lass into their matching Christmas jammies and told her several times that Santa would be coming while she was sleeping. I don't think she really got it. But the next morning I still showed her the mostly eaten cookies and carrots and told her that Santa and the reindeer had eaten them. She just kept asking to eat what was left herself.

Then we went in to the Christmas tree, where Santa had left gifts for her and Lass. I really expected her to be so excited and dig right in to the toys and books. Instead, she stood and just looked puzzled for a little bit.

Then she slowly sttarted picking up Lass's and her toys, one by one, and handing them to me.

Lass played with a few of her toys a bit once Miss handed them to her (that's a wooden snake in her hands below).

But mostly she just observed.

Finally Miss started really getting into her toys and playing with them.

She wanted to read all her new books.

And do new puzzles with her sister.
Then we had creamed eggs of course. My mom makes them much better than I do, and they were delicious. This was Miss's first time having them and she seemed to like them okay. It was a special way to spend "Christmas" with the girls, reminding me of how it was when I was a kid. I loved it.

This weekend we will go to the Farm and have Christmas - Take 2. I know it will be just as fun.

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