Christmas this year will be a little bit different for our family. A time to mourn the old ways and try to find a way to meld tradition into the coming years.
I grew up with two Christmas’s each year. We would celebrate on Christmas Eve with my Dad’s side of the family, in a non-traditional German way. Christmas Day and Boxing day were for turkey and santa and all the other beautiful bits of the holiday.
But it was Christmas Eve that was so special to me.
This year we said goodbye to my Grannie. After 96 years, and missing only 3 Christmas Eve’s with her in my 39 years, it is time to find out if the tradition can live on, and if so, how we will do it.
Christmas Eve was the perfect night. All the presents were under the tree, the stockings ready to be filled and we were just teetering on the edge of spilling over to the excitement of Christmas. I loved looking at the potential. Before the mess. Everything seemed to shine more. It was the moment before you step into the event, the second of anticipation.
Christmas Eve was filled with German wieners, potato salad and smelly cheese. There was always wrapped chocolates and candies and cookies and treats. It was a table laid with bits and food to fill excited tummies. We were always dressed in our very best, with itchy tights and lacy collars. Hair brushed and on our very, very best behaviour.
We did it for Grannie. A german immigrant who had enough struggle in her life and wanted to feed her family, and share nice things with them. We didn’t understand much of what she went to in her history, but by the way no one talked about it, and the quiet strength that Grannie seemed to carry in her. . we knew there was something.
With our Grannie gifts were never logical. There were no jammies or sox, or practical items. She always went straight to the toys, the good toys. The fancy, crisp boxed toy, with bold pictures and far too many little pieces. She was always prepared with batteries, and I remember sitting around after dinner itchy to start the unwrapping.
I remember circling beautiful toys in the Sears wish books. Crayons in crazy colours would isolate the awesome from the “not interested” My little mind dreaming of the options, but deep down, knowing my circle’s were far too frequent. From Barbies to easy bake ovens, horse carriages and ghetto blasters (yes, WITH a tape deck) Christmas Eve was always special. It was over the top (to our conservative gift giving family) and held a magic of it’s own.
One gift. One night, and it was the moment I missed the most from our holidays for those three years.
With the holiday’s looming, and our Christmas plans blank ahead of us, I am trying my best to think how I can capture that same feeling with my kids, and keep my favourite part of the holiday alive. How I re-create such a special day, and a special part of my history, without the people around me to make it happen?
I don’t know yet, but I know I will certainly try. I will find a way to let me kids feel a little extra special on Christmas Eve, just like my Grannie always did for us.
And yes, we will eat German Wieners, and I guess it is time for me to figure out how to make that fresh potato salad. And we will have chocolate, and send the kids off to sleep after looking for Santa’s sleigh, hands gripping their most coveted of Christmas toys.
Because the holidays are about making memories, about feeling loved, and giving love. It isn’t about the rush and the quantity. It might just be about one gift, and one special moment that makes a memory last forever.
The sears wish book will be arriving at your door any day now, check online to see this years hottest toys, and take a step back to the excitement of the potential of Christmas. Allow your kids the chance to dream about Christmas and create events that will make them memories.
Pop on over to the Sears Facebook page to enter to win one of this seasons hottest toys for your little ones every Friday until December 13th. And this year, take a moment to share something non-practical with your kids (and yourself) and enjoy the awesomeness of giving something that will really make them feel special.