talk back tuesday (thursday): how do you do Christmas?

I’m curious to hear how other people celebrate Christmas.  When do you open gifts? Do your kids believe in Santa? Do you have Christmas at your own home, or do you visit parents or in-laws?

Growing up, we did the same thing every Christmas . . . we drove from Missouri to Florida to visit my grandparents, and we opened our gifts on Christmas morning.  I remember having friends who attended midnight mass and opened their gifts on Christmas Eve. That blew my mind – how did Santa come if the gifts weren’t opened in the morning?

I didn’t believe in Santa very long. I remember asking my mom at a young age if he was really, and she did the classic, “What do you think?”  I’ve followed the same routine with my kids. In fact, I’ve never told them about Santa – anything they know they learned from school.  We “play Santa” but my kids know it isn’t real. Though I’ve given them stern warnings not to share that info with other kids.

Since we weren’t a big Santa house growing up, my mom always signed the tags on our gifts from random people. At first, she pretended the gifts were from whatever teen heartthrob we were crushing on.  I had many a gift under the tree from Kirk Cameron and Ralph Macchio in the 80’s. As we got older she also started signing them from boys at school that we thought were cute. It was equally mortifying and hilarious. To this day, she still signs some of the gifts from my ex-boyfriends. Or Brad Pitt. That was fun to explain to Mark the first time he visited for Christmas.

We have a long-standing tradition of having brunch with a couple friends on Christmas Eve. We’ve done this for over 10 years now with the same 4 couples and the kids always look forward to it. We usually go to our church’s Christmas Eve service and then let the kids open one gift.

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Mark and I habitually procrastinate the wrapping so that we are up until the wee hours.  We usually leave the big gifts unwrapped so that there are a few visible toys as they run out in the morning.

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Christmas morning, we typically do stockings, then make pancakes, then open gifts. We usually go to Mark’ parent’s if we are in town, though we often travel on Christmas Day. Fares are cheaper and it’s less hectic than other days.

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Of course, much of the day seems to be consumed by taking toys out of the packaging. I got the traditional Christmas packaging flesh wound this afternoon.

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This year, Christmas was a big more hectic because a) we are still in the moving process, and b) we needed to pack for a 7-day trip to Florida. Our kitchen isn’t finished so we cooked Christmas dinner on a hot plate and the George Forman grill, and ate off of paper plates. Then we frantically packed and took a red-eye to Orlando.

 

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How about you . . . how do you celebrate? Do you do Santa? Or do you do Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Do you host or do you go to your parents? Does your family have any unique traditions for the holidays?


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