Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making Old Family Christmas Traditions our New Ones

As a child, Santa Claus would always come early to our house on Christmas Eve, in time for my sister and me to open our presents before going to bed. On Christmas Eve, our parents would ask if we would want to go out to look for Santa's sleigh. We'd all get in the car, drive around the block, with our parents point out sitings of Santa. Upon returning, we'd find that Santa had indeed come and left presents. What a great holiday...staying up late and getting presents.

We did this for many years, until the discovery that Santa wasn't real. I wasn't so much disappointed in the non-existence of Santa as I was in not being able to figure out how the presents got into our house on those numerous Christmas Eve drives. Finally, I had to ask my mother, "If Santa isn't real, how did you get the presents into the house while we were out driving." Even back then, the engineer in me was showing through as I wanted to know how it worked. My mom smiled and replied, " Remember, I always needed to go back in and check something, after we were all in the car. That's when I put out the presents." I nodded and although I didn't remember, it made perfect sense.

Our four year old daughter is now at the age of knowing that Christmas is a very special day, filled with religious celebration, parties and presents. While previous Christmas days just happened, our daughter has been talking about , the birth of Jesus, Santa Claus, decorating and getting ready for several weeks. She even has a Christmas chain from school to count the number of days left.

My spouse and I have been discussing the Christmas traditions we want to add to our family celebration of the holiday. Last year, we started with reading Christmas stories in the days leading up to the event. This year, we'll be driving around the block on Christmas Eve to look for Santa's sleigh and finding that he has come early enough for our daughter to open the presents before going to bed. I had fond memories of doing this and hope that she will too.

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