Everyone has traditions, even if they know it or not. Something they do every year that is special to them, or maybe just habit. For years, ever since I could remember, on Christmas Eve, we would go to church, the sermon usually filling me with hope. We would spend time together with family. I would always take the time to look up into the sky at the blanket of stars and wonder what life had in store for us. We would go to bed early and on Christmas morning my brother, sister and I would line up like a train and work our way to the living room where presents and glorious Christmas music awaited. We would all have our eyes closed until we were all in position, then my parents would tell us when to open them, and we would uncover our eyes and see the wondrous sight before us. Then chaos ensued and wrapping paper would be everywhere.
The train tradition stopped when we had our children, at least for us anyway. Our children now continue with the tradition. On Christmas Eve all of our families arrive and spend the next few days over at my parent's house together. Which can make for a full house of 14 people. We watch Christmas movies and make cookies for Santa, leaving carrots for the reindeer. Each child has to write a note to Santa. We read The Night Before Christmas. We answer any questions they may have and tuck them into bed. Before church the guys get together and go last minute shopping. They can say what they want about finding last minute deals and so on, but we all know that they really just want to spend time together, laughing and having fun, which they do every year. It's that male bonding thing. At night, we snack on cookies and play Euchre.
On Christmas morning, my chest is a flutter. The children line up from oldest to youngest and with eyes closed, make their way to the living room. When we tell them to open them, their eyes and ears a filled with the sight of presents and the sound of Christmas music. Then chaos breaks loose as everyone sits and gets into position. We always wear our Santa hats and then we begin to pass out the gifts. I honestly could not care if I receive a gift, it is more important for me to watch the looks on my children's faces as they open theirs. That is priceless. Then we all hug and thank each other, our hearts filling with love and appreciation. Family is what Christmas is about for me. I am thankful everyday for them. I usually sit down with my children and play with them. Then help prepare Christmas dinner. I am responsible for desserts. The day is a relaxing and happy one. Then we have dinner, which usually consists of ham or turkey, city chicken, pierogi's, deviled eggs (which I make), polish sausage, and various other foods. The day after Christmas is family time, and we will either go to relative's houses to visit or do something fun together with all of us and the kids. After that we just relax and enjoy time together. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, but for me, the feeling lasts all yearlong.