I love the last three months of the year, but even more than that I love Christmas. Not for the gifts, mind you, although those are a pretty nifty bonus. No, I love the feeling of family that surrounds us. Even the grumpiest of people seem to be a little more pleasant, and not counting the fighting at the stores over that special doll everyone’s daughter seems to want, people get along better. I also love the decorations, the lights, and the music. I’m more a traditional type of guy when it comes to my holiday music, preferring Andy Williams and Bing Crosby over some of the more modern tunes, although I tend to listen to it all at one time or another. Our family goes bonkers with the decorations, having over twenty large storage tubs stuffed with Santas, reindeer, jungle bells, snowmen, and nutcrackers. Every room in the house gets decorated, including the bathrooms as well as the back porch, and we add to our ridiculously massive collection every year. You can never have too many Christmas mugs crammed into a cabinet, after all. I never use the same one twice in a year, and if you follow me on my author page on Facebook, you’ll see which one I'm using each day..
I also love the stories that come about this time of year, and some of my fondest memories are of my family sitting around, enjoying a drink as they share story after story of Christmas’s gone past. I remember when I was growing up just wanting them to go to sleep so Santa would come, but they would stay up all night, laughing as more stories were shared. I knew I would miss Santa, because I saw Rudolph's red nose blinking on our way home from Midnight Mass!
I also love the traditions that go with the holiday, crackling fires, egg nog—mostly spiked—chocolate covered cherries, and watching White Christmas and the Muppet Christmas Carol. We used to go caroling when I was younger, and then once or twice throughout the month, we would go idling down the neighborhoods just to look at the decorations. We never took the same way home throughout December, wanting to look at as many decorations as we could on different streets.
As we grow older, however, some traditions have to change because the family grows. Several years ago, we moved our celebration to Christmas Eve because of our children needing to split their time between us and their spouse’s family. It wasn’t a big deal because we still had several children still in the house on Christmas Day, but this year, even that will be different. One son moved away, another has to work, and one is in the Navy now and might not be here. Our youngest will be with her father, and another lives too far away to make it back home. The one in town will spend Christmas Day with his in-laws, but will be with us for Christmas Eve. For the first time ever, the girls and I will be alone for Christmas Day. That’s something that hasn’t sunk in yet. I'm not sure I'm ready for that tradition to change just yet. Of course, I’ve already set fast passes at Disney World, just in case. Perhaps a new tradition? I'll have to let you know.
What are some of your traditions? I’d really love to know, so feel free to drop me a note and share them with me. Whatever they are, make the most of this time of year and wrap your arms around your loved ones, because you never know when you’ll need to change a tradition.