Ye Olde Christmas Traditions

Posted: December 24, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“We’re kicking off our fun old fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols.”~ Chevy Chase as ‘Clark’ in “Christmas Vacation” [1989]

It’s Christmas Eve. At least for most. Christmas Day is several hours away and we gather with family and friends to celebrate in love and harmony, not to mention in pride and avarice (for others).

Each family who celebrates Christmas throughout the world has their own holiday traditions. I know that growing up, my family sure did. But after having those traditions for many, many years- it is sometimes difficult to realize that others do not do the same thing as I have done for most of my life.

Growing up, my family did our Christmas celebrating and the opening of gifts and presents on the evening of Christmas Eve. For many years I just thought that was how it was done. Until I was much older and realized that the only reason why my parents decided to open presents on Christmas Eve, was because of the fact that my sister’s birthday is the 26th of December.

So many Decembers gone by, and I could never figure out why other neighborhood children had only had their toys and gifts for an hour or so when me and my siblings had ours freshly unwrapped overnight. I would learn after the age of ten or so why that was.

Most of my life though, and even into adulthood, I would open up Christmas presents on the 24th of December………. except for one year.

On the 24th of December in the year of 1982, our family stayed at home instead of attending Christmas Eve services. My father would go on without us and then return home. Meanwhile, a thunderstorm came through and by the time we had heard the garage door opening, signifying that my father was home and “Christmas” would begin, my younger sibling ran out the front door to greet him in the pouring rain. At that moment when the front door was opening, the tornado sirens began to wail.

Christmas was not going to happen for several hours later as the F4 tornado ripped through in the middle of the night. Two days later (on my sister’s birthday that year) we had twelve inches of snow. Go figure.

That year, so memorable. Opening gifts and drinking tiny glasses of egg nog well after midnight and practically falling asleep on the floor amongst the disaster area of torn and shredded Christmas wrapping paper and emptied out toy boxes and packages.

Christmas traditions vary worldwide as well. Not just from American family to family. Some have already opened gifts and presents. When I was studying German in school, we learned about something called “Saint Nikolas Tag” (St. Nicholas Day). That was the time when many children would open gifts and presents. Of course in Germany, they do celebrate Christmas on the traditional days of 24th and 25th, and even on the 26th. But what we learned, Saint Nikolas Tag was the day that the German version of Santa Claus would visit and bring gifts for the children.

Now as an adult, now that I am an uncle; things have changed a little bit. My niece and nephews will most likely be opening gifts tomorrow morning as many children will in this country.

But I really don’t believe that it matters all that much on WHAT DAY we open our gifts and presents for the Christmas holiday. It’s more towards what the real meaning of Christmas is about. And being with family and loved ones.

And that’s just me.

For those of you reading this blog post, and celebrate Christmas– MERRY CHRISTMAS. May your holidays be full of love & joy.

 

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