We’ll start with my greeting. On Christmas Eve, my mother would answer every phone call, every knock on the door, and greet everyone with “Christmas Eve Gift!” I asked her once why she did that and she just looked at me, baffled. “Because that’s what we do,” she finally answered. I later learned it’s a Southern thing. This should not surprise y’all.
The Christmas Giver Game. Okay, I just made that up because we’ve never really had a name for this tradition. It dates back to the first Christmas Lawyer Guy and I spent away from home, which was our second married Christmas. We were stationed at Ft. Knox, and he decided to stay on duty. We’d invited some troops who were stuck on base for lunch/dinner later on Christmas, along with some of his co-workers in the Trial Defense Office of the JAG unit. We went rather overboard on presents and frankly, I got tired of writing out gift tags from “Me” or “Santa.” I tore all those up and started over by listing the giver as someone/thing that had to do with the gift. For instance, a coffee table book on the Orient Express was from Agatha Christie. As we opened presents on Christmas morning, I made LG guess what his gift was based on the “giver.” The following year, he did the same and we continued it with Only and now her family.
The Christmas Cactus Tree (which has been retired after years of service…) 1995 was a hard year. The Murrah Bombing in April, my dad passing right before New Year’s, our Great Pyrenees pup deciding to eat the Christmas tree… In 1996, my mother took the whole family (my brother and SiL and their two kids), and the three of us to Colorado Springs for Thanksgiving. While we didn’t stay at the Broadmoor, we had Thanksgiving lunch there. There are many Broadmoor stories in the family but I won’t bore you with them. It snowed while we were there and it was lovely and beautiful with all the Christmas lights. We hadn’t gotten around to replacing our tree and while shopping up in Manitou Springs, we found a 3-D cactus made of barb wire and strung with chili pepper lights. It was funny and whimisical and the dang dog couldn’t eat it! So we bought it. Except we’d flown there. Arrangements were made for the cactus tree to be shipped. After many delays and an emergency “fix” of stringing garlands along a beam with lights and the ornaments strung in them, the cactus finally arrived on December 24th. I glued a “tin” sheriff’s star to the top of it and it served us for many, many years.
Those are just a few of our personal Christmas traditions. I won’t get into that whole deal over stockings, full Christmas dinner verses “Get to the good stuff!”, or spaghetti for Christmas Eve dinner while watching Santa on NORAD’s radar! Christmas is a time for family and friends and friends who are family. It a time to remember and rejoice, to look ahead with optimism. It’s lights twinkling in the dark and the wonder in a child’s eyes. From me and mine to you and yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, no matter how you celebrate. If you’d like to share some of your own unique tradtions, I’m all ears!