Monday, December 15, 2008

The Magic of Christmas

In my mind, the magic of Christmas partially stems from this week's topic: Christmas traditions. Which really boils down to family traditions. Little (or big) things that extend from one generation into another...things that my parents did with me, that I'm now doing with my kids, that someday they'll do with theirs, is (to me) an essential ingredient in what makes Christmas special and magical.

Things from baking the same types of cookies each December with my children that I baked with my mother when I was growing up, to Santa filling their stockings with the same goodies (LifeSavers Storybook!) that he filled mine with, to driving around on Christmas Eve to gawk at all the Christmas lights, to so many more make me feel warm, happy, and loved.

As the years have passed, we've also started our own new, yearly traditions, that maybe, just maybe, my kids will also pass on to their kids someday. What are some of those new traditions? One of them began when my oldest two (who are now 16 and 18) were very little. One Christmas, I decided to give them each one present early--on Christmas Eve. See, I'd recently been divorced and had moved across the country, and it was just us, me and my two kids.

Anyway, my parents weren't able to make it out that year, and I knew I was going to be sending home lots of pictures of Christmas morning. And I wanted to prove to everyone that we were okay, and happy, and that I (as a young, single mother) had everything under control. Such a big thing to show in a few pictures, right? So in my frenzied Christmas mind, I decided the kids needed new pajamas for Christmas morning (for all those photos!).

On Christmas Eve, I gave them each one present, which yep, contained brand new, Christmas themed pj's for them to wear to bed that night. Now, every single year, my kids (and my husband) get new pajamas on Christmas Eve. I almost didn't do it a couple of years ago, but my oldest had a fit. She said to me, "But,'s tradition. You have to do it!"

And so I did.

Another tradition I started when the older kids were very young was purchasing one Christmas ornament for each of them for their stocking each year. This "new" tradition has extended to my family and many of my friends, and I hadn't even realized it was a "tradition" until my brother told his then-girlfriend (now wife) on her first Christmas with us, "My sister does this every year. Isn't this cool? She helps us grow our Chrismas memories one ornament at a time."

Wow. I loved that, and while I hadn't realized THEN I was creating a tradition, I know now. So yep...every single year, I scour the stores for the perfect ornaments for each person on my list. Because they expect it, yes...but also because they love it.

Traditions + Family = Christmas Magic.

And that's all I have to say on that!


Jillian Cantor said...

Such a great story, Tracy! I think the way traditions start are sometimes almost as important as the traditions themselves.

Maureen Lipinski said...

I love that the best traditions sometimes arise accidentally!