I’m participating in The Nester’s 31 Days Challenge, so for the month of October I’ll be writing each day about 31 Days of Christmas: plan a little now to enjoy it more later. You can see all of the posts here.
Even before we were engaged, Matt and I enjoyed talking about our childhood traditions and favorite Christmas memories (see the post from Day 19). But I realized as I was working on this series that I had never taken the time to ask my family what their favorite memories were. Here’s what they had to say (in their own words as much as possible) –
J.R. (brother) –
In terms of other fun Christmas events/traditions, some of my favorites were advent calendars, the construction paper ring-chains, Dad reading “The Night Before Christmas”, watching Elf, and let’s not forget mom’s delicious sweet potato casserole and pecan pie!! One of my all time favorites was reading the Christmas story and acting it out with the manger scene 🙂
He also added that he loved seeing presents appear gradually under the tree between Thanksgiving and Christmas; we would usually add gifts to the stash under the tree as soon as they were ready and wrapped in hopes of driving each other crazy with anticipation. 🙂
Bekah (sister) –
…Slumber parties in the living room with you and JR on Christmas Eve and also camping out with all the cousins in Poppa and Nana’s Great Room when we were on the Outer Banks. DEFINITELY agree with JR that Dad acting out the Christmas story with our manger scene was a favorite.. so much so that I searched and searched for a nearly identical manger scene to display at my house and hopefully one day do the same with my future children (no, I’m not pregnant!) 🙂 Somewhere along the way my focus on gifts switched from receiving to giving. I now look forward to finding the perfect gift that will make someone smile and think about me whenever they use it….The last thing I can think of is decorating for Christmas. I am currently counting down the days to Thanksgiving when I will be “allowed” to decorate for my favorite holiday. I love unpacking ornaments and remembering where they came from, who gave them to me, etc.
Tyler (brother-in-law) –
When you were little, it seemed like you got the whole world at Christmas. And every year there was that one gift after all of the other ones were opened. One year after we had opened all of the presents, my parents pretended like they were going to take a family picture in the living room, and then opened the blinds into the backyard and we saw a trampoline! Another year I thought I had opened all of my gifts and then they handed me a present that looked like a tootsie roll but they had wrapped drum sticks inside – I ran into the garage and found a drum set!
When Tyler told this story at dinner over the weekend, my brother and sister and I remembered one of our favorite Christmas gifts from when we were about 4,5, and 7 years old. My parents brought out a HUGE wrapped box and told us that our present couldn’t really fit inside any box. We were on the edge of hysteria as we unwrapped the box to find… a smaller wrapped box. This continued through several more boxes until we found a small box with Disney season passes! (We were living in FL at the time and got the resident passes so we could go during the off season… it was awesome!)
I loved making sure everyone had their favorite treats and spending time in the kitchen baking and decorating cookies with you kids. It was really important to me that everyone had tasty treats that they’d enjoy!
My mom was great at this. Every year she would ask us what we most wanted to eat and snack on around Christmas and she would make a list to make sure that she had everything covered. (Hmm…maybe my list-making compulsion is genetic?!)
I love the look of excitement on people’s faces (especially younger children’s faces) as they open their presents. That never gets old. Also, since I was a boy, I’ve liked musical/mechanical decorations — like a small Santa and his reindeer dashing through the snow to the tune of jingle bells. I also love the smells of Christmas — the smells of evergreen, hot cocoa or cider, and all the yummy smells coming from the kitchen.
I think it’s interesting that we have so many shared experiences and yet have different things that stand out to us. I’m thankful that my family let me pick their brains about what their favorites were and are. It will make it fun this Christmas to try to find special ways to delight each of them individually now that we have insight into what they love the most!
Have you asked your family about their favorites? Were you or are you surprised by their answers?