Issue: December 2014
December 2014 - Message: Staff Christmas memories
In place of an individual message this month, we have a collection of staff Christmas memories and traditions to share:
We had a strip of sleigh bells that hung on our front door each year. When I was little, on Christmas Eve, my mom would go outside under my window and shake the bells. Occasionally Grandpa would be out there too and would do the “ho, ho, ho” like Santa.
For a little kid it was an amazing thing. Even more amazing to me what that one year I found a bell after Christmas and there wasn’t one missing from the strip that we hung on our door.
I don’t know where it came from, but at that time I was sure that it came from Santa’s sleigh.
My mother and I have decorated gingerbread houses together every year around Christmastime. We started out with simple graham cracker houses, but as I got older, we began trying to outdo ourselves each year. My mom would design and bake these wonderful gingerbread structures based on pictures we found in magazines, and then we would decorate the houses together for days.
My favorite one we made was a small English village with clock tower, store fronts and a thatched roof house. Now that my visits home are shorter, we have undertaken more traditional houses the past few years, but I hope we get the chance to make more gingerbread masterpieces in years to come.
Friends and family "around the country block" where my in-laws live, have a fun tradition. Several years ago, someone had bought some really tacky lamps at an auction that they started calling, "The girls." Each year on Christmas Eve, someone would sneak "the girls" into a neighbor's house along with a poem written.
On Christmas Day, neighbors and friends bring their leftovers and gather together to play cards, visit, laugh about who had been "got" this year and plan what to do with "the girls" next year.
Every year, my grandma would make a flannel nightgown for Christmas. I always looked forward to getting this gift and it was extra special because it was made just for me. What I wouldn't give for one of those nighties now, or better yet, for my daughter to have one.
Our Christmas Tradition
A few fun things we always did as a family for Christmas were:
We would always go cut the tree down together, tromping around in the snow till we found the perfect one. It was a lot of fun and the kids loved being a part of that and then decorating it together at home each hanging their own ornaments and enjoying looking at them and remembering why they received them.
We started the tradition of giving a Christmas tree ornament to each of the kids on Christmas eve. That was the only present they could open early. It was usually some representation of something they did or accomplished in the year prior. We still continue this tradition but now they can pick one out.
Before the kids could see the gifts under the tree we would all gather together and my husband would read the Christmas Story aloud, so the very first thing to focus on was Christ’s birth. We would then go to the living room and open stockings. Then have breakfast, then go and open the rest of the gifts each one taking turns till the pile was empty. This is also a tradition we continue to do.