A beautiful white coating of snow blanketing the landscape. Homes glowing with colorful, twinkling lights. Jolly St. Nicholas gracing lawns with his eight reindeer companions. Fires crackling in the old stone fireplace. Bing Crosby serenading the silence. The aroma of freshly baked cookies filling the air. The laughter of children echoing down the halls. Presents piled high, surrounding the ornament-decorated tree. Your loved ones all pilling in close. The singing of slightly off-key carols. The overwhelming sense of happiness. This is what I think of when I think of Christmas.
Like with most people, Christmas and the holiday season has always held a special place in my heart. As a child, I remember waking up on Christmas morning and running to the Christmas tree with my brother to open gifts. They were some of my first and happiest memories.
Growing up, my Christmas traditions changed often over the years, but the idea of what a perfect Christmas looked like never did. It’s the kind of Christmas I know I will strive to create now that I have kids of my own. I’m looking forward to this upcoming Christmas more than I have in a long time because my oldest daughter is now old enough to truly enjoy the holiday celebrations. I can’t wait to see the look on her face when we drive by houses covered in icicles and lights, to watch the joy and dance moves a classic Christmas jingle ignites, and to experience the happiness of watching her open gifts on Christmas morning, though I’m already wondering how we will keep her from going underneath the Christmas tree until then. I know Christmas is going to look different this year, but we will still be making the most of it.
We will decorate the house with red and green décor, festive garlands, shimmering snowflakes, beautiful stocking, and, of course, a large evergreen tree decorated with family ornaments. We will bake freshly made gingerbread men and decorate a gingerbread house or two while listening to all the classic Christmas carols. We might even have to have a friendly competition and see who holds the title of best cookie decorator. And that will just be the beginning of the special treats. I can already taste the peppermint hot cocoa and cookies we will be preparing for Santa.
Not only will we have sweet treats, but we will have to make a delicious holiday ham with all the trimmings—mashed potatoes, rolls, casseroles, and more. Wow, I am getting hungry just thinking about it! A favorite memory from Christmases growing up is the thought of the meals my grandmother would make for our family. That was back when all the aunts, uncles, and cousins convened at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We would all gather together in their large formal dining room—I, being the youngest of all the grandkids, was always seated at the “kids table” with my brother and cousins. After a delicious and filling meal, we always had Grandma’s homemade pie. Oh my, was there pie. Apple, cherry, pumpkin—to this day, there is not one dessert I cherish more than my Grandma’s pie. We will definitely be adding pie to our holiday baking list this year.
I don’t recall if we had certain rules growing up about when we’d open or exchange gifts, but I think we will probably let the girls open one present from Mommy and Daddy on Christmas Eve, whilst wearing our matching jammies, of course, and save the rest for the morning after Santa comes. I hope my girls believe in Santa for a long time, because I know I certainly did. While the idea of Jolly Ole St. Nick is definitely farfetched, it is still such a beloved tradition that we will definitely take part in.
Most of all, I hope it will be snowing on Christmas morning. Is there anything better than a White Christmas? After opening gifts, we can dress the girls in their snow gear and take them outside to build a snowman, which will probably lead to us singing “Do You Want to Build A Snowman?” of course. Then after we are done making snow angels and catching snowflakes, we will head back inside for an afternoon of cocoa and cuddles while wrapped up in our fluffy blankets watching old claymated, stop-motion Christmas movies, my favorite being “The Year Without a Santa” or “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year.”
While we may not get a big extravagant Christmas in the company of family and friends, we will definitely still enjoy starting our own special family traditions that we can partake in for years and years to come.