10 Reasons Why I Love Christmas

Monday, December 21, 2009

10. The Ornaments. More than 10 years ago my mom started a tradition. Every year we would each get a new Christmas tree ornament. What started out as a cute, fun idea has turned into a Christmas cornerstone. My sister and I in particular look forward to our ornament with great expectation. We can't wait to see what Mom has chosen. And while I am vain about my well decorated tree, the excitement lies in the surprise. My mom searches all year for the perfect piece. Sometimes she finds it in July on a trip with my dad, sometimes not until December 24th, but she always finds just the right thing. An tiny expression of our personalities and interests. Over time I've received a dancing penguin, a tree frog, a tiny chef, and woodland fairies. 

9. Mom's bathrobe. For as far back as I can remember Mom wears her bathrobe on Christmas morning.  My sister wakes us all up early and we stumble out of bed to the mantle while Mom slings her bathrobe over her pajamas. She needs that extra layer of warmth. My Mom hates nothing more than being cold. Over the years its been red, printed, plain, light, fuzzy, patterned, and I think the last year or so it's been green, but it always shows up in every early morning Christmas photo.

8. Monkeybread. Last Christmas April, my sister, made Monkeybread for breakfast. It was amazing. Doughy. Cinnamony. Gooey. Sweetness. Monkeybread was immediately established as a new Saltenberger tradition.  I just love that it is never too late to start something new.

7. The Stockings. I've had the same stocking since I was a tiny baby. My Mom sewed it. (I had great expectations of sewing Landon his first stocking too. He'll never know if it doesn't actually show up until 2010, right?!) Christmas day has not started until the stocking is stuffed. As kids April and I would wake up and run to the stocking. If it was still empty Santa hadn't come yet and we had to go back to bed. I still have no idea when my parents actually stuffed the thing b/c I remember waking up and finding it empty multiple times during the night but it was always full by morning.

6. My Dad's Gift. My Mom has always been the shopper in the family. She has incredible taste. Even when I was a teenage she bought me things I wanted to wear. While my friends were trying to figure out how to return their parents' purchases I was taking my mom after-Christmas shopping with me to get her advice. So i love it when my Dad buys me a gift. There is usually something from Dad in our stocking or under the tree that Mom hasn't helped with at all. And I always love it. It might be a gift card, or something for the house, but it's the token of time and effort that mean the most. He could easily leave the shopping to Mom alone and we would all be completely satisfied, but I love knowing that he went out looking for something special for "his girls" (and RJ too!). 

5. Extended Family. Growing up holidays weren't holidays if we didn't see at least one extended family member. And usually all the Saltenbergers would gather together. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins litter my holiday memories. My cousins Sallie and Will were my very first friends. We don't play any silly games, or have any traditional foods, but we love just being together. And we love to laugh.

4. Hosking Present Mayhem. For 20 years I only knew one kind of Christmas. And then RJ's dad invited me over for Christmas - Hosking style. The Hoskings have a big Christmas celebration on the 24th. Papa Richard cooks something amazing. We drink wine and eat until it hurts. And then, it's gift giving time. Now, at the Saltenbergers, gift giving is a process. Each gift is opened one-at-a-time and we all ooh and aah over it before moving to the next gift. The Hoskings to things different. It's: One, Two, Three, GO! Wrapping paper flies, plastic hurls, people are shouting, ribbon is floating. It is complete and utter mayhem. It's fantastic!

3. My Sister. Outside of Christ no one embodies Christmas like my sister. I'm surprised she doesn't make herself an advent chain on December 26th.  April loves Christmas. It's because of her I make it a point to still sleep at my parents house on the 24th (thankfully RJ and his family are very compliant). She would hate it if we didn't wake up under the same roof on Christmas morning. If any of us deviate from the traditional Christmas procedure, she gently reminds us to get back on track. She is all traditions and gifts, carols and love.

2. RJ's surprise. RJ is a great gift giver. His gifts are meaningful and heartfelt. And he always surprises me. It isn't about the money. Often the best gifts really are the least expensive. It's the effort and though he puts behind it. And at Christmas he always puts his best foot forward. I used to get frustrated b/c he always outdid me, but I am learning to just accept and enjoy.  I praise God for giving me such a thoughtful man who loves blessing my socks off.

1. The Nativity. My favorite Christmas memories are playing with our family nativity set. It's a ceramic set that my parents got before I was born. There is a little wooden barn, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 3 wise men, a shepherd, a sheep, cow, and a donkey. As long as we were gentle my Mom allowed us to play with the pieces. But, although we did out best to be careful with this special toy over time it got nicked, scratched, and chipped. The shepherd has been hot-glued together at least 3 times. But the nativity is still my favorite piece of Christmas. My Mom eventually got herself a new, beautiful scene. For awhile the old nativity was in my college house, and I believe it's under my sister's tree today. I have yet to buy one for our family because I keep holding out for the perfect set. I want something that displays the important of the day. That really embodies the significance of Christmas. Yet, I want it to be approachable. I want Landon to get down and play with the pieces. I want him to really understand Christmas and all it stands for.


12 comments:

Jessica, Matthew, and Numi said...

So many great things here. And don't worry, I think Landon will let you of the hook with the whole "hand-stitched-stocking" thing!

Linda Z said...

Fun to hear about your traditions! :)

Have you seen the Willow Tree nativity set? I think it's really pretty.

A.M.H. said...

Linda, my girlfriend just showed me her Willow Tree set and I love it. I think it may be the one I end up getting.

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Dallas said...

I just had my first-EVER monkey bread... What the heck?!? How AMAZING is that crap?!?!

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