I've never really been into Christmas before this year. I've never cared about decorating or hanging lights or anything like that. Now that my grandparents are gone and most of the traditional things I do every year at Christmas aren't happening, I'm kind of freaking out! The other day, Vince made a comment about how he's happy I'm so festive this year and asked me what changed, and I just started bawling saying, 'My grandparents aren't heeeeerrrreeeee.'
As much as I like going against the stream, I really love traditions! I feel like traditions are so important in families and it creates and incredible bond. I know the holiday season is supposed to be about Jesus and whatnot, but I don't believe in him; I believe in love, and family, and roots. I want my children and grandchildren to know that that is what the holiday season is about.
So here are a few that I want to continue or start up this year. Once we have kids I will probably add many more because that's the kind of person I am, but this is it for now!
Stockings I made on our 'fireplace'...I still need to make Roxanne's!
When a new edition comes into the Packard family, my grandma has a tradition: she makes a baby blanket for them if they are a baby and a stocking for Christmas, whether they are born in or married in. Well, this year she didn't have time to make Vince a stocking before she left for her mission in Peru!
I've really been having a tough time this year not having my grandparents around for the first time ever, so I've taken it upon myself to be the 'new grandma' for mine and Vince's future family. I will now be the grandma that makes a new stocking and baby blanket for our future family.
My grandma uses the same 'basic' pattern (it's not very basic though, it's quite intricate!) for every stocking, she just uses different fabric. I've decided to not use the same pattern, and to have each family members stocking be completely different. I picked out my pattern this year, as did Vince, and I finished both of them yesterday and today...just in time for Christmas!
Vince wanted to keep his simple, so that he could add something like a patch to it every year. I think it's a great idea, just think that the first few years are going to be a little plain!
A tradition that I started this year was buying an ornament for us each year. Sometimes it will be matching ones for each of us like this year, and other years it might just be one for the both of us. I was SO against this idea before and I'm not quite sure why! Maybe when I pictured ornaments I was thinking of the cheesy glass ball ones that say 'Christmas 2011!' that I don't really like because they're pretty boring, but once I saw these at JoAnne's for 70% off, I knew I wanted to do this tradition.
Every Christmas Eve, my family has gathered at my grandparents house for an amazing meal before we head out to go Christmas Caroling. I wrote about caroling last year, and even though I love to hate it, I'm really going to miss it this year! It was something that brought us together and brought SO many families to tears because they were so happy to see us.
What I will continue is the food. I don't think I've ever gone a Christmas Eve without eating potato soup and clam chowder. There's always an abundance of it and I would just eat and eat and eat it until I surely thought I was going to explode. Then I'd sit for a minute and go back for more! It's my absolute favorite meal of all time, so I'm happy stickin' with it.
After caroling, we were allowed to open one present. That was sort of our 'prize' for sticking it out through the couple hours of caroling. Once Vince and I have kids we'll have to think of something to do so that the kids can 'earn' a present on Christmas Eve.
In the past, the aunts and uncles would draw names for what family they were going to give gifts to. This year, we decided to give to charities instead of to each other. (This was actually Vince's idea!) I love that idea and I feel SO much better about it instead of sending a family member something they don't need! Vince and I gave to Sharon Manor, a battered women and children center. We were both so excited about everything we gave to them and it was so much easier to spend money on a cause like that. We bought a bunch of random goodies like wallets, hats, gloves, jewelry, gift cards, etc. I think this will become even more important when we have kids to be able to share this with them and teach them why it's important to give.
On Thanksgiving I brought some goodies up to the emergency department at the hospital. I asked the nurse at the front if I was allowed to give them stuff and after replying that they were not poisoned, she said yes! She asked if I was a previous patient, and I said no. She then asked if I knew someone who was in the ER. Again, I replied with, Nope! I told her I just wanted to bring them stuff, and she was so happy and surprised by that! So for Christmas I'm going to bring some treats up there again.
A Christmas Story
Whenever I'm at my mom's for Christmas, she refuses to change the channel from A Christmas Story, which plays for 24 whole hours. Drives me crazy! Since we don't have cable, I plan on buying the DVD (though probably not this year) so that we can have it playing in the background. Maybe it's on Netflix...
Ok, so now that I've written a book, do you guys have any traditions?