Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas Traditions

I've talked about family traditions in general and about Christmas mornings at my house growing up and now I'd like to share a few other Christmas traditions that we had.

Santa Presents- Different families have different ways of doing presents from Santa.  In our family there were presents from family members and stocking presents.  These were labelled and under the tree, or in the stocking, from whenever the gifter wrapped them.  Santa presents appeared Christmas morning in a pile.  One for my brother and one for me.  As we got older and learned the truth about Santa, these presents tended to just be the ones that were larger or more complicated to wrap.  I always liked the magic of how these presents just showed up on the morning of Christmas.  I also like that we had other presents that were known to be from other family members.  Christmas wasn't just about us getting presents.  We also gave them.  It made the joy of giving, as well as receiving, part of our Christmases.

The Wrapathon- This is one of those silly things that always makes me smile.  I'm not sure why I like it so much, as it's not really anything big.  My dad is a really good Christmas present buyer.  He doesn't do gifts much during the rest of the year, but rather saves up all his creative juices for the holidays.  He would shop throughout December and leave everything in the trunk of his car.  Then, on Christmas Eve, he would spirit everything into a room.  He would then announce that "The Wrapathon had commenced".  He'd wrap everything all at once, whilst locked away from prying eyes.  That's pretty much all there is to it, but it makes me smile.

The unwrapping of presents- After we've eaten breakfast, we do stockings.  Stocking presents are generally small, low-cost items.  Once all the stocking presents have been opened, we move onto the tree presents.  At some point, after my brother and I had some self-control and didn't descend on the presents like wild animals, we started to slow down the process.  Either my brother or I will take turns playing Santa and distribute one present to each person.  Then each person takes their turn to open their gift.  This way everyone gets to see everything and the process takes an hour or more, rather than minutes.  It's a great way to savour the morning and the giving/receiving dynamic.

The Christmas Rabbit- So this is our weirdest tradition.  It's one that I didn't ever think was all that strange until I first tried to describe it to a friend.  You know that moment where you realize that something your family does isn't normal?  When you're forced to see it from an outsiders perspective?  Yeah, this tradition is that for me.  I love it.  In my family, the Christmas Rabbit brings people pajamas.  I told you it was weird.  I don't really know why.  But that's how it is.  We all know that the Christmas Rabbit is my dad.  Every year, a sexy nightie for my mom and fun PJs for me and my brother.  The Christmas Bunny is my mom.  She buys PJs for my dad.  Around the time I went away to college, The Christmas Rabbit started giving a fun little toy and an Old Navy gift card instead of PJs to me and my bro.  I think dad felt weird buying PJs for his grown kids, but I still miss it.  I'm looking forward to when the Christmas Rabbit brings PJs to my kids.

The Christmas Eve Present- After we came home from the Christmas Eve service at church, before going to bed, we'd select one present to open.  It was a fun way to whet our appetite.  As I got older, I'd usually choose to open my present from The Christmas Rabbit so I could wear them that night.  My brother grew out of this practice long before I did.

So those are a few of our family's Christmas traditions.

What are yours?
How did Santa work in your house?
Do you have any as weird/awesome as The Christmas Rabbit?


  1. Ok, I'm failing at a way to express this without sounding like a crazy creepster, but....

    The way you write about your traditions growing up makes me feel about your family the way a lot of people feel about the 1950s—strangely nostalgic for something they never actually experienced.

    (If my family is reading this: uhh, you all are are awesomesauce too. I just don't recall any Christmas Rabbit pjs or Bee/Bear outings...)

    My family always did the family gifts and Santa gifts thing and I got my family Christmas gifts since before I can remember. I had no idea until this minute that that wasn't standard. (Clearly I need to go through a wild string of boyfriends so I can be forced to spend holidays among strangers and learn about Others.)

    As for me, I always wrap the presents in the dead of night Christmas Eve while watching the Winona Ryder Little Women. Then I sneak them under the tree and get into bed and drift off to sleep as they kiss in the rain.

  2. Aww thanks esbee! That's sweet... and only very slightly creepy ;)
    I think most families do Santa presents and other ones too, but I've seen some that don't and it always seems weird to me. I don't know that a wild string of boyfriends would be my advice either. (Ross is my only serious relationship ever, so I say hold out for a really good one and don't mess with sub-par imitations!)

  3. This was fun to read! I think the Christmas Rabbit is cute. :)

  4. Thanks for encouraging me to keep the faith, Meg. Merry Christmas Eve!

  5. Clearly our family was one of the odd ones who didn't do Santa presents. As a child, I remember some repairman doing something around the house around Christmas time asking us what Santa was going to bring us and we were like Santa who? He looked at my mom like she was a crazy person. She says she didn't want to lie to us about the existence of some fictional character. But we had other fun traditions. Like reading the Christmas story in front of the tree on Christmas eve and then opening one gift. Ok, maybe my family was a bit lame. But we made up for it in other quirky ways ;)