Sunday, December 9, 2007

Family Traditions

Well luckily my mother in law, Kari (at Just Living Large) remembered to post her family traditions, which means I too am going to do it. I have been meaning to do this one for a while. First, I will start with my parents traditions, it was always a magical time for me. We always had a real tree that my dad and I would go cut down from the woods next to our house. I know you could get arrested for that these days, but back then it wasn't that big of a deal. As far as I can remember we always went to a Christmas party on Christmas eve that my father's best friend, Brad, had at his house. I don't remember if it was at the party or at home but I was always allowed to open ONE gift that my mother chose. It was ALWAYS a pair of PJ's, that tradition stuck until I moved out of my mother's house. When we would leave the party it would be pretty late so I would just be starting out the window looking for Santa. I guess somewhere between our house and his there was a water tower with a red light on top. My dad convinced me that it was Rudolph's nose, so I better go to sleep so Santa didn't skip our house. When we got home we would sit out the cookies, milk, and carrots (for the reindeer of course). Then I would put on my new PJ's and go to bed. I was always so full of anticipation, which I am sure most kids are at the time. I would get up between 5 and 6 the next morning, my poor parents. I wasn't allowed to get out of bed until my parents were up so I would yell for them from my bedroom to let them know I was ready. Luckily they were just as excited as I was so it wasn't hard to get them up and going. Now comes the magical part. When I would get up I would go to the living room to the coolest things. The cookies would be mere crumbs, the milk would be gone, and the carrots would be gnawed on(they got my rabbits to do it the night before). Which reminds me of a movie I watched the other day that said reindeer don't gnaw on carrots they eat them whole. I am thankful I didn't watch that movie when I was a kid, it would have crushed me. Anyway, in the chair by the cookies would be glitter, where Santa had sat down. My dad even used his work boots to make glitter foot prints from the door to the chair. We didn't have a fireplace so they told me that Santa had a special key that let him into people's house who didn't have one. After looking at what Santa had left we would go outside to see the sleigh marks and reindeer hoof prints in the driveway, which was a dirt driveway(we were poor we couldn't afford cement). My dad was a hunter so he had saved a hoof from a deer he had killed to make the marks. Everything was so real to me. I didn't care when kids said Santa wasn't real, I knew otherwise. Why else would all these things be visible to me? Well, unfortunately my parents split when I was 9 years old. That Christmas I kept holding out that I would see the things that I was used to. It seems like my mom may have tried to do it the same but by the next year it didn't happen. I never even told her but that next year I went outside to look for the sleigh marks and hoof prints. I searched until I realized there weren't any. I was so heartbroken. I wanted Santa to be real, I wanted it to all be as magical as I had grown up thinking it was. I realize that most kids don't believe at the age of 10 but I still did up until that point.

Once my parents split we had some new traditions but they were mostly the same. We went to my Aunt Pat's house, which was next door, for Christmas Eve. My grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins were all there too. We would sit around eating candy and snacks and talk. We all exchanged gifts that night. So we got to open from our grandparents and aunts and uncles. When we got home my mom would then allow me to open my PJ's. I would go to bed and get up the next morning to my Santa clause gift being out unwrapped. As long as I lived in my mom's house I had a Santa clause gift. She knew I didn't believe anymore but she still did it. However, the things in my stocking were always wrapped; I tend to do this to now. After we opened all our gifts we would all go back to my Aunt Pat's house for Christmas dinner. It was a really good time. I miss those times with my family.

Now we have to start our own traditions. We have only had Maddy for two Christmas mornings in 2003 and 2005. We set out her Santa gifts and her stocking of wrapped things. We did the cookies and milk but not the carrots. I do wish we could have done for her what was done for me but it would have confused her being that she spend some Christmas mornings with her mom too. So maybe we can do those things for Kara, or come up with our own thing. I just know I want her to experience the wonders of Christmases morning like I did as a child. Sure I was crushed when it was all over but the memory of it all will remain with me always. Those are memories that I cherish deeply.


Sandi McBride said...

You know, I'm sitting here with tears pouring down my face because you're still a little girl and someone told you there was no Santa. As long as you believe in Santa darling, he'll believe in you. Just because the reindeer and the sleigh haven't left their imprint on your driveway, they left it on your heart. Listen, hear the jingle of the sleigh bells, the distant echo of his laughter and then tell me there is no Santa...
Aunt Sandi

Brenda said...

I loved your story. So sorry about your parents. When I was alittle girl my big brothers and sister would take me on a walk. We went down in our pasture. When I red light would fly over they would say there went Santa. I would run back home and sure enough he had been there while I was gone. I was always so happy.