When I was growing up, we’d get our tree(s) over Thanksgiving weekend. My dad would buy permits and we’d travel to some gawd awful land and cut them down ourselves. All of their friends and all of their kids would join us. We’d have hot cocoa & plenty of treats. It was always fantastic but it seemed we’d get there after everyone else got all the perfect trees that were actually shaped like triangles. We’d spend hours trying to find something that would fit in the truck and then the house. It seldom did. We’d spend the evening trimming off the bottom then lopping off the top. I swear it was always 5 feet wide. Fantastic!
My dad would also always sneak in 2 extra small trees. This may have had something to do with getting such a giant big tree…. Anyway, me & my brothers would also have a little tree in our rooms. By “little”, I mean about our height. I loved it. I loved being able to decorate my own tree with my own popcorn and paper chains. I loved having the lights on at night – like it was my own little apartment.
Christmas Eve was the same every year. We’d have visitors – usually my grandparents and friends of my parents. They’d drink, the kids would play and before we went to bed, we opened 1 present. Jammies. Everyone does this, yes?
We weren’t allowed to wake up before 4am on Christmas morning. It still makes me laugh that this was a problem but seriously, who can SLEEP? So, promptly at 4am, I would sneak out of my room and creep down the hallway. The lights were always left on (for Santa) so I just followed the warmth that seemed to pull me closer and closer. I’d climb the stairs into the most magical place that lit up every part of me! The lights, the smell, All Those Presents! I’d take a quick inventory of what was left from Santa (because all other presents were wrapped) and run like hell to my brothers!
My intent was always to wake them and guide them to the magic but I could never wait. I’d wake them up and before we left their room I’d say something like, “you’re going to LOVE your new bike!!” To this day, I’m not sure my brother forgives me for that. <oops>
After they looked around a bit, we’d wake our parents. – who I’m sure weren’t actually asleep this whole time.
Magic. That’s it. It was magic.
Stockings first then 1 by 1 we’d each open a present. And still, this is exactly how we do it. But now we sleep at different houses and meet at my mom’s around 7am. Other than sleeping and timing, it’s all still the same.
Because it’s just me & my brother and, luckily, we both still feel like we should all be together, we are. But I wonder how long that will last. I mean, my parents didn’t wake us up and take us to their parents house. & now that my mom is alone, I can’t even imagine it any other way. In fact, I’m still gonna press her to stay with us Christmas Eve… We’ll see.
This year we have another family – another WHOLE family to start traditions with. In fact, maybe it’s already started. We went over to my dad’s tonight to rehearse our Christmas Eve song (Baby, It’s Cold Outsid) and the kids exchanged their presents. I just inhaled it all – loving them each so very much.
Anyway, I love traditions. I love routine. I love consistency. & I can’t wait for ALL of Glory’s Christmas’!! Because you know I’ll be a little old lady, sleeping on her couch, waking her up at 4am to tell her what Santa brought her.