Christmas Tradition: Past, Present and Future

Christmas Tradition: Past, Present and Future

Christmas Tradition: Past, Present and Future

Our first child was born in 1990 and we bought one toy for under the tree (from Santa). It was a push truck that babies hold on to while tottering along. I believe I still have it somewhere in our basement. When your children are little babies, Christmas is so easy. But as they grow older things get trickier. Shopping is the easy part. Hiding the bags is okay—under my husband’s work bench in a separate room off the basement with other stuff piled on. Tom would take the presents to work to put together and do all the wrapping and then place them in boxes under the workbench to be covered again. So far, so good. But, through the years it was up to me to put the presents under the tree and this is when all the fun begins. Tom would be sleeping with sugarplums dancing in his head and I would be sneaking around our house in the early hours of Christmas morning. We have an older home with floors, steps and doors that creak and groan. So, I would pretend to go to bed with everyone else, but would stay awake waiting for the witching hour when I would try and move quietly around the house getting all ready for the excitement of the morning. The gifts were wrapped but I would have to go down the creaky stairs to the basement, uncover, open boxes and bring all the gifts up those creaky steps, across the foyer and into the living room over carpeted creaky floors to place the gifts under the tree. All the while tiptoeing and stopping every few steps to listen. I would step, creak, stop, listen, step again, creak, stop, listen and move ever so slowly over to the right, then over to the left, then a wider step to try and miss those creaky spots in the floor. This would take several trips as I could only carry so much up our very narrow basement stairwell. I broke a sweat more times than I can remember thinking I was hearing noises from the upstairs bedrooms, which would stop me in my tracks. I would then sneak up those stairs—creaking all the way—trying to stay on one side where it creaks less and then listen outside the closed bedroom doors. One time I do remember one of the boys waking up when I went into the bedroom and I think I said something like, I thought I heard bells, but go back to sleep because Santa will not come if anyone is awake. Yep, they believed anything told to them. And then I would continue my quiet shuffling around the house. When all presents were brought up from the basement and placed under the tree, another tradition that I had lots of fun with was creating a scene that Santa had indeed been there. I once bought a kit of reindeer footprints with corn and a torn piece of Santa’s red suit, and, if it snowed, there would be reindeer and Santa footprints in the snow; if no snow, then there would be corn left behind. I had bells that I would stand outside and jingle in hopes the kids would hear. Not sure they ever did even though my youngest admitted that he heard them. Every year, I wrote a note (from Santa) thanking us for the carrots for his reindeer and milk and cookies for him, that we had left out before we went to bed. I would drink the milk, eat a couple of the cookies (but leave some) and then there would be carrot pieces (as if the reindeer had munched too) for the kids to find in the morning.  As they got older, the boys became skeptical that the cookies were eaten by Santa and that the reindeer were munching carrots and they firmly believed that it was my handwriting on Santa’s letter of thanks and on all the gifts but I would just give them the look and say, “Okay, don’t believe….” This was my yearly tradition. One time I admit I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until six in the morning and went crazy trying to get all this done before anyone woke up. But I think I put a lot of pressure on myself all those years probably needlessly. Looking back, I don’t remember either of the boys waking up wanting to know why I was sneaking about the house. In fact, Tom and I would be up and waiting for our oldest to wake up, then in later years after our second son was born in 1996, we would be waiting for both boys to wake up. Sometimes it seemed that Tom and I were more excited about Christmas morning than the boys and we would go upstairs and wake ‘em up. They were excited once they were ripping open their gifts as are all kids—the clothes would be thrown over the shoulder and the requested toys hugged tight. The boys are now young men and gifts are not opened until much later on Christmas morning, as we have brunch and mimosas, and then our gifts. They pretty much know what Santa is bringing, but something they do not know is that I have all their letters to Santa saved for them. I think it would be lots of fun to open and read those letters. That just may be something we do this Christmas because we will begin a new tradition as the boys’ Grandma Jean (who came to our house every Christmas morning to open gifts and have breakfast) passed away earlier this year. So it will be a quiet Christmas for us, but Tom and I are both looking forward to our sons beginning their own Christmas traditions where we can sit back and watch all the excitement. I can imagine them trying to explain why Santa and JCPenney has the same wrapping paper (as pointed out by Ryan) or why the nibbled-on-carrots were inside, not outside (as noticed by Casey). But most of all I imagine them trying to be as quiet as a mouse while enjoying Santa’s cookies and milk in the very early hours of Christmas morning. Merry Christmas from the Wilsons!