Recently, we were sitting around the table in my workroom talking about Christmas traditions. It took me right back to when my boyz were little—the innocence of the days when they believed Santa was real, searching the house for their presents, me thinking I was so smart for hiding the gifts in suitcases (really!).
I actually did get smart eventually—I had a different wrapping paper for each boy. I wrapped all one person’s gifts in the same paper and didn’t put any names on them. Then they had to wait until Christmas morning for me to tell them which paper belonged to their gifts.
Our Christmas Eve tradition was opening one present each (we always gave new jammies so everyone could look extra spiffy for Christmas morning’s festivities). Then it was late to bed because they were waiting up to hear Santa. Of course it didn’t matter how late they went to bed, they were still up early, waiting patiently for mum and dad to have their coffee, and any late sleepers to join the part, before opening presents from Santa could began…geez those Christmases went fast! These days, even though they’re not little anymore, the boyz still love leaving cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for Rudolph. (As an aside, I hope they always have room for a little whimsy in their lives.)
For me, Christmas is about family, not rushing things, and really being in the moment and appreciating each other. It’s cliche, I know, but it’s true. Partly this comes from my childhood when Christmas morning lasted about 10 minutes with everyone ripping paper off their presents at the same time…and then it was over. When I had a chance to choose Christmas traditions for my family, I wanted to slow things down to really appreciate how fortunate we are and be truly thoughtful. And even so, it still goes fast.
Christmas morning lasts about 4 hours. Although my boyz are older now and can sleep until noon every other day of the year, come Christmas morning they’re still up at 8. (That makes me smile.) It’s like being at a dinner theatre with coffee and baileys and a show. We sit around the living room in our jamz opening one gift at a time as we go around in a circle…with oven mitts! (Yes, really! Have you ever tried this?) It doesn’t mean we all have the same number of gifts, but we enjoy watching each boy open their present(s) and seeing their reaction.
It’s about relaxing and being comfortable. And it makes me so proud to see how creative and thoughtful my guys have become. Last year, my oldest son, Spencer, wrapped everyone’s gifts in white paper, hand-wrote a poem for each person, and attached a symbolic Lego keychain to each present. I was so impressed I may have shed a tear or 2. 🙂 And I can’t wait for Christmas morning this year!
Things I do to get ready for Christmas includes trying to listen throughout the year for what people really want or need. It’s funny because at the beginning of the year, I’m already thinking about the end of the year! And it also makes me happy to do some unexpected giving—you know, like leaving an extra large tip for the waitress in your regular restaurant or coffee shop, or maybe for the gas bar attendant where you fuel up. It’s amazing what an unexpected $20 can do for someone!
Naturally, I think about adding Christmas to my house too. On November 1, the decorations come out! Everyone knows I adore black, but come November, I’m all about the Christmas colours…in a restrained, modern way of course. It’s little things, like putting a sparkly red ball in your guest bathroom, or changing up the hand towels to add a little Christmas colour. And I love Christmas candles. Strategically placing nicely scented candles around your home is also a subtle and clever way to bring Christmas into your space. My absolute favourite is Nest Fragrances’ Holiday Classic candle. It smells exactly what I imagine Christmas should smell like! And they make fantastic gifts. This is one candle that no one will be regifting because it just smells so amazing!
So…what’s your Christmas tradition? Any “weird” ones? And what’s your favourite gift you’ve ever received? Mine was a wonderful book given by an old friend. Somehow, she knew Mark Nepo’s words in The Book of Awakening were exactly what I needed to hear then, and now. I still read it every day. Sometimes you really have to dig deep and take a meaning from it. It just continues to be such a thoughtful gift…yes, I realize that I’m returning to the theme of thoughtfulness. Because seriously, that’s what it’s really about.
Wherever you are in the world, I wish you a colourful Christmas. Enjoy the ones you love to the fullest, because you never know what tomorrow may bring. <3