Christmas traditions have been on my mind this week as I’ve had time to wind down from the Holiday Gift Guide and spend uninterrupted time with my family. Sometimes as mothers we wonder if all the time and prep work spent on #alltheChristmasthings are worth it. I say: yes, indeed.
When I look back on Christmas as a child, I think of the extended time we spent in Memphis with my grandparents. I remember reading Luke 2 on Christmas Eve with my sister, sometimes acting it out. I remember the beautiful nightgowns we wore and the carols we sang. And getting to open one present before we went to bed.
I remember waking up promptly at 5 am and tip toeing into my grandparents’ room to see if anyone was stirring. Then waiting with my sister and brother as our parents to turned on the lights and everyone gathered their robes and slippers. We could hear the coffee starting to brew and the oven being clicked on.
Oh how time slowed during those fifteen minutes!
Then our parents opened whatever bedroom door we were huddled in and we sprinted toward the living room, directed by the light that was beaming out from the living room. We audibly gasped with wonder at the beautiful sight: the candles were lit, the stockings were full, the gifts were spilling out from under the tree, each one wrapped carefully and beautifully. Santa’s toys were scattered about in our distinct piles. The sight was almost too pretty to disturb.
But of course, we did.
The morning was a plethora of ooh and ahhs as we opened gifts. There were lots of hugs with parents and grandparents, interrupted only by the delicious home-cooked breakfast my grandmother always made.
As I look back upon those years spending Christmas with our extended family I realize there wasn’t anything particularly unique about how we celebrated Christmas. Many other families were probably doing the same things. But it was that we were doing these same things every year. And that consistency was so comforting to me as a child. I could trust that at the end of the year, despite all the bad things happening in the world, things would be calm and bright in the charming, two story house with the forever long driveway on Kriter Lane.
I took comfort in the same board games, the same decorations, the same drive through Shelby Farms’ Christmas light display, the same hot chocolate mix my mom made. All these little things made me felt loved then. And now, as a mother myself, they make me feel loved even more. Oh how appreciative I am of my sweet mother and grandmother who did so much to give us a magical Christmas!
Now it can be difficult when seasons of life shift and new traditions must be made. Our first Christmas in Dallas was bittersweet. I grew up spending the night on Christmas Eve with my grandparents and always thought my children would do the same with their grandparents.
But I also realized it was an opportunity to rise to the occasion as a mother and make new traditions to combine with the old. Four years later my husband have done just that. We have Christmas Even brunch at the original Neiman Marcus downtown, where we all get dressed up and enjoy riding the old timey escalators up seven floors. After brunch, we let the children play in the little toy department, then my husband sneaks them off to pick out a present for me at the jewelry or perfume counter. That evening we attend the family Christmas Eve service at our church and then come to a tamale dinner (a very Texas tradition we’d adopted!) We read Luke 2 and let the girls open one present on Christmas Eve, just like I did as a child.
Wherever you are this Christmas, sweet mothers and grandmothers, know that all the preparations you have made are not in vain. The late-night wrapping, the notes from Santa, whatever little details you bring to your family, they may be exhausting, but are not inconsequential. They add up to a love that isn’t just felt when children have pigtails and toy dump trucks, but one that they will feel decades later.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and holiday break. Thank you for trusting DoSayGive with helping your prep for this special season. It has been such a joy!
Merry Christmas and Much Love!
P.S. For those asking if I saved my stories on Instagram about the “7 Things We Can do to Cultivate Grateful Hearts in our Children at Christmas,” I saved them to the Motherhood highlights tab in my Instagram bio.