Over the years Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have meant a lot of different things. Some of my best memories are on these days and some of my worst memories are on these days. With a toddler who is BEYOND excited about the Christmas holiday I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks thinking back to some of my favorite Christmas memories.
Growing up Christmas was always one of my favorite times of the year. Christmas Eve was always spent with my parents and Grandpa (and other members of my Dad’s family who were in town) and Christmas Day was spent with my Grandparents and family in Cleveland.
Christmas Eve was always a fun time. With a fire in the fire place, a decorated tree, a good dinner and deserts that can’t be topped it was always one of my favorite days of the year. There was usually a traditional family photo in front of the fireplace or the tree at some point during the night and some of my favorite pictures with my Grandpa. Every once and awhile my cousins from out of town would come and celebrate too.
It usually ended with a trip to the midnight service, my favorite church service of the year. Church was one of my favorite times to see the college kids who were back, catch up with friends and nothing topped singing Silent Night as the lights were dimmed in the church. I even made it post ankle surgery in high school, it was wonderful.
As I got older and Santa wasn’t a part of the Christmas morning routine, we would stay up late and open our presents after church. There was Eggnog and Baileys, wrapping paper everywhere and a dog who gave us the look letting us know her bedtime was four hours ago.
Christmas Day we would pack up the car and head to spend it with the other half of my family in Northeast Ohio. My cousins and I would run around, scream, laugh, fight, play and usually play WAY too much Nintendo (old school) before dinner. In more recent years it has turned into a few weeks before Christmas to accommodate for the busy schedules of the holiday season, not to mention the much larger family we have turned into.
After we got married in 2011, Christmas changed in a lot of ways in our house. Not only does it involve two families, but Christmas day 2011 was spent in the hospital as my dad was sick while fighting cancer. He passed away 6 days later and that changed the tone of Christmas in a lot of ways. I have many, many, many wonderful Christmas memories with him but Christmas Day will never be the same after that day.
Christmas 2013 was Little Man’s first Christmas and again everything changed. Suddenly ornaments had to be higher, late night present opening was over and we had a little one to add to our Christmas list. This year will be the first Christmas that he truly understands what is going on. Last year we didn’t do too much of a Christmas as we were in the moving process, but this year it has been a whole different story.
Talk of Christmas started sometime around early October and he hasn’t stopped being excited about it since! While Christmas has had it’s ups and downs in the last 4 years, we have really made a point to start making Christmas memories with him this year. We made a gingerbread house, have Christmas music dance parties, drove around (on more than one occasion) to look at lights and we talk constantly about the holiday.
Every year will be different but these past few weeks it has been fun looking back on my favorite Christmas memories. I hope Little Man is able to do the same some day.
What is your favorite Christmas memory?