Every time the holiday season comes around Kevin and I are hit hard with a big dose of nostalgia and sentimentality. Decorations, Christmas music, eggnog, cookies and treats; they’re all very welcome guests in our house! If you added up all of my childhood memories I think at least 50% of them would be from Christmastime. It’s such a vivid time of year with excitement and anticipation galore, a perfect recipe for lasting memories.
There are memories that have turned into traditions. Watching White Christmas happens every year; if I watch it alone I can practically hear all of us saying the lines and singing along. When I make gingerbread cookies I can remember pulling up a chair to the fridge at home and sneaking cookies out of the tins Mom hid up there. Wrapping caramels was not a favorite activity of mine, but now when I do it I savor the way it takes me back to sitting around the metal kitchen table using that huge butcher knife to slice up pieces of wax paper.
There are little individual memories that bubble up when I think about our Christmases at home. I loved to create a little nest in the corner of the living room behind the Christmas tree, turn on the tree lights and sit back there reading a book. Sometimes Rodriguez (the family cat) would come back and curl up too, which made it extra special. I remember getting scratched (by the tree, not the cat) as I wiggled my way back behind the tree. I liked how secluded it felt back there. It made it the perfect place to read.
I think we got the first three Harry Potter books for Christmas one year and since we had to share I started out by reading the third book. Then I went back and started from the beginning.
I remember getting The Sims for Christmas one year, waking up the next day and playing it for 5 hours straight and IT WAS AWESOME.
I remember a plethora of desserts. Pies as well as treat platters of fudge, caramels, cookies and CHEX MIX. Kevin doesn’t understand why we have such a deep abiding love for chex mix. He likes it, but doesn’t go nuts (haha, I’m hilarious) over it like we do. Mmmm. Chex mix.
This year we started making our own Christmas traditions with Calvin. We went out and cut down our own Christmas tree at a cute little farm out in the country. Kevin was so excited to go cut our own, as he put it, “You can never be angry when you’re walking around looking for a Christmas tree!” He’s right, even though I was cold and a bit tired and Calvin was getting tired and a bit fussy, it was perfect! It helped that the farm had a little log cabin “warming center” with free cookies and hot chocolate.
We wanted to make our own Advent tradition this year, so almost every night we sit and read out loud from either J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Father Christmas Letters or Joy to the World. They’re both lovely. Tolkien wrote yearly Christmas letters as Santa to his children with sweet illustrations and it’s so charming to read them out loud. Joy to the World is a great compilation of historical information about the symbols, scriptures, poems and hymns of Christmas. It’s the one stop shop of Advent goodness.
Afterwards we turn off the lights and sing one carol around the Christmas tree then open our Advent calendar. Kevin doesn’t know the words to the carols as well as I do (thank you Readings & Carols and Houghton’s Prism), so some nights it devolves into hilarity as he tries to guess the lyrics that I’m singing as I sing them. For you SNL lovers it’s basically a Garth and Kat song around the Christmas tree. Since we’re traveling for 2 weeks over the holidays we’re soaking up as much Christmas at home before we leave.
What are some of your favorite holiday memories sisters? What new traditions are you starting?