Christmas day presents
Traditions — Christmas Day is upon us. Are you ready? For once we, my wife and I, are ready! We have the presents purchased and wrapped. They sit under the tree waiting for the package distributor to pick one and call out a name. If tradition holds, whoever the present is for will be offered help in opening it. Then comes the cries of “Show us what it is. Hold it up.” Cameras will flash and it will be time for the next one.
Our Christmases around the world
I was sitting here thinking how Christmas Day events have changed for my family over the years. My wife and I spent our first Christmas (1974) as a married couple in Keflavik, Iceland. The second was in Iceland also. Our third was in San Vito, Italy in an apartment above our Italian landlords. We were two and a half. My wife was pregnant.
My son joined us for the fourth and fifth (1977-1978) in San Vito. The sixth and seventh were in Pensacola, Florida. The Eighth (1981) was my daughter’s first as she grew us to a family of four. The next two were in Coco Solo, Panama. We have been in Maryland for all of them since 1984.
Christmas traditions at our house
My wife and I bought a big artificial tree in Iceland and used it for forty years. It was always a challenge to find room in the government housing we lived in for the tree. Some piece of furniture would hide in the bedroom or utility room while the tree decorated the space vacated. Over several days before each Christmas, wrapped presents found their way under the tree. It was magic to the kids. It was late night wrapping that made the magic.
It became traditional for the kids to open one present on Christmas Eve. The rest waited for Christmas morning. Santa had to make a stop after all. Santa’s presents were the big items that required assembly. Santa’s helper had to pull tools and stay up late doing Santa’s work. Christmas morning was hectic as the mounds of wrapping paper grew. The kids enjoyed their presents while we made dinner.
Today, the children are grown and have children of their own. They are creating their family traditions regarding Christmas *and other holidays*. Our traditions have changed to permit them to have theirs. We remember, in moments of nostalgia, past Christmases.
One of our traditions remains. Our smaller tree requires relegating a piece of furniture to another room. The tradition most missed is not being present when the sun comes up and watching the grandchildren discover what lies under their tree. We do get to watch them with the presents we bring with our visit.
Empty nesters, we accept the role of supporting cast ready for whatever role Santa needs filled. Has Christmas traditions changed for you? Use the comment to share your traditions.