Sunday, December 20, 2009

Favorite Childhood Christmas Traditions

Hello Everyone,

Today, I'm going to tell you about my favorite childhood Christmas traditions. On Christmas Eve, I loved going to church because all of the children enacted the nativity scene that night to celebrate the birth of Christ. At the end of the services as we streamed out of the church wishing everyone a Merry Christmas we were handed a string bag with candy and nuts in it before we walked out into a winter wonderland to see snow falling and the glow of streetlights.

That wasn't the end of the evening. After church, we drove just a few blocks to Grandma and Grandpa's house. The Christmas tree sitting in front of their picture window brightly lit welcomed us and the excitement built in my cousins, sister, brother and me knowing what was inside. Grandma had hot chocolate and cookies ready for us when we went through the door. One look at all the gloriously wrapped gifts and the ones that weren't wrapped drove that from our minds.

Of course, we always got to unwrap gifts first, then we had the hot chocolate and cookies before leaving sleepily to go to our own homes. It was a lovely tradition and one I have missed. It was a time when families were close no matter what issues they might have with one another.

There were other Christmas traditions that I liked very much. We opened gifts at home on Christmas Day, and then we went to Grandma and Grandpa's to open more and for dinner. The whole day was spent cooking, eating, playing games, laughing and talking. I usually found time to sit in a corner reading the latest Trixie Belden or Nancy Drew book I had gotten for Christmas.

Another thing I liked about Christmas as a kid was the carolers who came to visit our house on a cold wintery night. We lived in the country and the snow was deep. Always, the carolers were invited in to warm themselves and drink a cup of chocolate while they sampled cookies. The carolers went to all the farms in our community. It was wonderful.

Remember January 1st, I'll be announcing the winners of my contest.

Thank you for visiting and feel free to tell your favorite Christmas, Hanukkah, or other religious traditions at this time of the year.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Peace!

Sandy

23 comments:

K.T. Bishop said...

As a kid, my favorite Christmas memory was in 1980, when I got a bike.
As a parent, my favorite one is getting my child two dollhouses in 2003. She was 10.

Amy M said...

Such wonderful memories! When I was a teenager, my sisters and I would go to midnight mass. That was always fun. Everything looked so beautiful! And of course when I was little I loved coming downstairs in the morning to see all of the loot Santa had left!

Now, as a parent, I love to see the expression on my kids faces Christmas morning when they come down the steps to see what all is under the tree!

Sandy said...

Those sound like lovely memories, K.T.

Thanks for sharing.

Sandy said...

Hi Amy,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories with us.

Heather Snow said...

Ah...I miss carolers! Christmas time really makes me miss my Nana. I can still smell her perfume and see her rushing around in her pantyhose getting ready for midnight Mass.

I was blessed to have my great-grandparents still living until I was 14, so my Christmas memories are filled with family. Sadly, my Nana followed her parents in death only 6 years later, at the age of 60. Christmas has never been the same.... Now extended family does their own thing. But my mom does a fabulous job keeping her mother alive at Christmas time so the smells and feel of the holiday are the same, only smaller.

Christmas is still a favorite time of year. Sandy, your Christmas memories sound wonderful.

robynl said...

such wonderful memories.
I remember, as an adult on my own, coming home later at night and the first thing I'd do was run into the living room to see the tree and get down on my knees and check out the presents. I could find out this way who had whose name, etc. I knew I was home then when I viewed the tree.

Anonymous said...

Warm memories of childhood happiness. And you even had snow falling, how lucky can you get.
One tradition my parents had was to set the tree up Christmas Eve after all the kids were in bed. It was real hectic as I can recall them saying. My Aunt always made Viennese Cresent cookies for us every Christmas. Oh how we looked forward to having her stop by with that big tin of delicious butter, flour, vanilla & fine chopped almond cookies...yummmm
Now it is my tradition to make them every Christmas.
Thanks Sandy for such great memories of your childhood Christmas's
Pat

Sandy said...

Heather, thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories of your nana and Christmas.

Sandy said...

Oh, Robyn, it's so good that you have such cool memories as an adult. You are still young when your checking the names on the presents. lol I bet you shook a few packages, too. Wink! I'll keep your secret.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

We used to go to Christmas Eve mass and then sing along with the Elvis Christmas cassette on the way home. So fun on the dark snuggled together in the back seat, and better yet if it was snowing. Then my dad would go to the neighbors to play Santa and after about an hour or so he'd come back in the Santa suit for a few pictures with us. We'd sit around the tree and each pick one present to open from our parents.

To this day Christmas Eve is reserved for my side of the family, and we take turns having it at each other's house. It's great!

Merry Christmas Sandy and to everyone else!

Sandy said...

Thank you, Pat, for your wonderful memory Christmas. I can imagine just how hectic it was to get the tree up on Christmas after the kids were in bed. lol They must've enjoyed doing it for you kids.

I need that recipe for those cookies, Pat.

Anonymous said...

Back in the woods where I was from Christmas was just another day. Cows still needed to be milked, livestock still needed to be fed. Mom would make some homemade fudge....you know the kind that you put a drop in the water to see if it's been boiled enough?
Christmas never got sour until I got divorced for me.
Turp

J Hali said...

Hi Sandy, Merry Christmas!

My Christmases have all been quiet, usually I stay home. Since my mom did the whole Santa Wonderland thing - with a tree in every room, more food than a neighborhood could eat - it's not the same since she's gone. I still get together a couple hours with my sisters and we count our blessings!

Lynn said...

Sandy,

I remember waiting up until midnight Christmas Day and telling my parents it was officially Christmas so we could open our gifts. It worked like a charm every time.

This Christmas is special because my son is home on leave from the Navy and it's hard to say when we'll spend another one together as he is to be stationed in Hawaii. My daughter still gets excited even though she doesn't believe in Santa anymore.

Dawné Dominique said...

Since our daughter was barely a year old, she and I made ornaments for the tree. Everything on its branches is homemade (including the angel) except the lights, of course.

For the last twenty-seven years, I create two different versions (about 150/250) to give away as gifts to friends and family, as well as to hang on our tree. To say it's packed is an understatement, and in the last years, I save only two or three for our tree and give the others away.

Our "little girl" is now out on her own, with a wonderful man who has a six year old daughter himself. Chantelle (our daughter) has now picked up this tradition, and in the last two years, that's my best present ever...an ornament made by my daughter and granddaughter. I'm just so proud Chantelle decided to carry on the tradition. Whenever I decorate the tree and place those ornaments on it, I end up crying (but in a good way). I can remember every single year, where we were living, what was cooking in the oven, and how old she was. Ohhh, did I mention...every one is dated.

I love Christmas! People seem to be a little bit nicer, they smile more...and there really is magic in the air!

Sandy said...

Stacey, what a sweet memory to keep of your childhood. Merry Christmas to you, too, Stacey.

Turp, you shouldn't let anything or anyone sour you on Christmas. Least of all, not divorce. Sorry, my friend.

Sandy said...

Joann,

Your mom sounds like a dear. There's nothing wrong with a quiet Christmas and counting your blessings.

Sandy said...

Lynn, so good to hear from you. You were quite the little trickster as a kid, weren't you. lol

I'm glad so glad your son made it home for Christmas. There's nothing wrong being excited about Christmas even if there's no Santa. Smile.

Sandy said...

Oh, Dawne, what a lovely tradition, and it's wonderful your daughter is carrying it on.

Your tradition makes me a little teary-eyed.

Thanks for sharing.

Elle J Rossi said...

Hi Sandy,

I'm a little tardy this week. Sorry about that!

I loved when we all piled into the truck to go pick out our Christmas tree. I always wanted a short but very fat tree and more often than not, I won out. I think it was because my dad was only about 5'5" so it was easier for him to handle.

Also, each year on Christmas Eve we all got to open one present. This is a tradition I've carried over to my children. My husband still doesn't get it but his parents love that I've brought a new tradition into the family!

Happy holidays,
Elle

Sandy said...

Oh, Elle, it's lovely to have you here any time even if it's late. You have a lovely Christmas tradition. For some reason, men don't often get it. lol Good for hubby's parents for getting it though. Smile.

Charisma Knight said...

Merry Christmas Sandy!

As a child, we used to visit my Grandmother and Grandfather, at the time before BWI airport was built up. They had lots of land back then. Now, there are a bunch of hotels in that area.

All the grandchildren would go out and play for hours after opening gifts, or as long as we could stand the cold.

Back in those days, children relied upon their good imagination and were seldom ruled by television. lol

Granny would call us in for hot chocolate and freshly baked chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter cookies! Granny also baked these awesome sweet potato pies. I liked how she used to take strips of the dough and cross them on the pie!

These were awesome Christmas memories. Grandma still makes those awesome pies, but Grandpa passed in Feb of 2008 and he is missed.

Sandy said...

Charisma,

Those are lovely memories. What a delight that you still have have your grandmother to make those sweet potato pies. So sorry about your grandfather though.

Hugs,
Sandy