Our holidays have always been steeped in tradition. First, Christmas stockings are always hung “by the chimney with care”. One year, when Matt was 5 years old, he called me up to his room. It was close to midnight on Christmas Eve and Matt was still awake.
I asked him what was wrong and he shared his anxiety. The house we lived in was on several levels. The living room was just a short stairway down from his bedroom. We had hung our stockings on the mantel in the living room.
Matt explained that he understood how we should be careful of strangers and take precautions to keep ourselves safe. He said he agreed with being cautious and questioned why we had hung our stockings on the living room mantel when we knew that Santa would be coming in that way.
He said that it made him very uncomfortable that this strange man, who he had never met, would be coming into our living room to fill our stockings. This location was only a few steps from Matt’s room.
He went on to say that he had thought about this and felt it would be better to put our stockings in Grandma’s room on her mantel. He thought Grandma was older and wiser and would know how to handle the situation. Matt could be very convincing and it was difficult to argue with his reasoning once his mind was made up. Matt and I carefully rehung the stockings in Grandma’s room.
This started the new tradition of hanging our Christmas stockings on Grandma’s mantel and that is where we would start on Christmas mornings with our first holiday surprises. We hang stockings to this day and still start with the small treats from Santa in those stockings.
As time has passed, and no matter where we lived, we would go out for dinner on Christmas Eve. Often Chinese food, sometimes Benihana, or any of the other fun places we could think of. This tradition started in California and continued to Colorado and now in Wisconsin.
Either before or after dinner, we would go to an evening church service. We loved singing traditional carols together and enjoyed hearing the Christmas Story one more time. We almost always ended the service with the singing of Silent Night and the sharing of lighting candles in a darkened sanctuary as we sang.
There is something special about these traditions that make the holidays memorable and magical. At the same time, they bring back memories of Christmas’ past.
Merry Christmas everyone and make this a tradition-filled holiday that will carry you through the year to come.