Christmas traditions are hard to break when you have done them for decades. We have had a few go by the wayside over the years, which in retrospect is sad. The thing that is heartwarming is the thought of those traditions, the talk about them and the memories of those who were part of them.
Childhood traditions have been passed down to the next generation. Including the allowance of being able to have our stockings only on Christmas morning. The only thing we dared touch until the adults and other members of the family were up.
As a child, it was common for gifts to arrive from aunts and uncles living far away. These presents were placed under the tree, not to be touched, rattled or poked. There would be one or two special gifts from our parents that showed up Christmas morning. And yes, the excitement that Santa had come while we slept to tuck a parcel under the tree. None, and I mean none, were to be opened until the go ahead was given by an adult.
The stockings were investigated, cherished oranges eaten, and a bit of candy consumed.
“Let’s open all the presents for everyone and put them at the end of Mom & Dad’s bed.” He whispered. Sounded like a plan. After all, a five year old looks up to her big brother for guidance.
The last parcels were unwrapped and quietly placed in the bedroom. We were leaving the room when Dad acknowledged we were there.
“We’ll be up in a few minutes. Then you can open your gifts.”
I didn’t know I should keep my mouth shut. For that matter, I guess it really didn’t matter.
“We’ve opened them all. There right here. See. We thought it would save time.”
My brother stood with his arm around my shoulder. “It was my idea.” He said quietly. She only helped when I asked her to.
Always looking out for me, he was.
By now, Dad was sitting on the edge of the bed and Mom was propped up by her elbows looking at us.
“Did you put the tags with the gifts?” she asked.
“Oh my Lord! How are we going to thank people? How will we know what they sent? I think I can remember which of the relative sent to the kids and which sent to all of us.”
To say the least, Mom was a bit frantic. It was, after all, custom to write thank you notes. In fact it was expected, and, it was a given that we children would too.
“We’ll figure it out.”
My dad never seemed to get too excited about stuff like that. I guess he figured that was mom’s job.
So, if any family or friends remember the year you got vague thank you notes from our family, saying something like, “Thank you for the thoughtful gift.” in stead of “Thank you for the beautiful hand knit scarf.” That would be the reason why.
To all of our family, friends and far away neighbours, Merry Christmas.
Author, Photographer, Lover of Life