When our kids are grown and have families of their own, I hope that they remember the love we shared and the traditions that mattered to our family. I hope that those are the gifts that stay with them for always.
I asked a handful of my favorite bloggers to share with me their favorite memories of childhood and it was so lovely to learn that their favorite memories are about so much more than wrapped presents….
My mother used to make her mother’s sugar roasted peanuts every year. I remember having to beg her to make them one year when she just didn’t want to. She was exhausted as most mothers are at the holidays, but woke me up and we made them together while the house was quiet. I think about this every year, especially now since I don’t see her that much. I have yet to make them myself, maybe this year will be the year.
–Sue, Motherood and Me
Sitting around the Christmas tree at my nana and papa’s house with all of my cousins, singing carols and waiting for Santa to come visit. My mom did it with her cousins when she was a child, now I am doing it with all of my cousins and our children, and one day they will all carry on the tradition as well. It’s the most important part of Christmas for me.
–Natalie, Mommy of a Monster & Twins
My best Christmas memories revolve around music; our house echoed with classic carols all day long. Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, and John Denver provided the soundtrack of our holidays. To this day, those old songs make me unbelievably happy.
–Julie, by any other name
My dad always sang in the church choir and we attended the Christmas Eve services every year. When the choir sang the hymns I could always hear my dad’s voice ringing out so beautifully behind the others…not overpowering them, just complementing the piece so perfectly. I would close my eyes and if felt like he was singing just to me.
–Sherri, Old Tweener
Christmas carols and Christmas cookies define the holidays for me… my mother baked like crazy during the holiday and her soundtrack was my father’s enormous and eclectic collection of Christmas music.
–Tonya, Letters for Lucas
Hands down, my favorite memory is listening to Christmas music decorating our tree in PJ’s drinking hot cocoa and eating cookies!
–Rachel, Mommy Needs a Vacation
Opening one present on Christmas Eve was always my favorite memory.
–Jessica, My Time as Mom
I loved the anticipation of Christmas morning. My mom always wanted the living room to look perfect so made us wait in my brother’s room until the tree was lit, music was playing and the camera was ready. I remember it feeling like the longest five minutes of my life but looking back I think it was my favorite part.
–Jessica, Four Plus an Angel
One year, my mother announced we would all open gifts, parents included, on Christmas Eve night. She handed each of us a box and we simultaneously giggled giddily and unwrapped our boxes to find matching flannel pajamas. After cackling and hooting over the matching PJ’s, we went into our rooms to change. I’ll never forget walking out to find each of us in our matching flannel pajamas. My step-brother said, “My God, we look like the Brady Bunch!” and we all just about lost it laughing at how ridiculous we all looked. But, for the record, even though we were teenagers who thought this was all pretty stupid looking, no one took their pajamas off.
–Sara, Penny’s Parade
I remember always having to sneak past the dining room, where our tree was, on the way to the living room to open our stockings first. We would crawl by on our hands and knees so that it would still be hidden by the half wall, and we wouldn’t be tempted to peek in to see what Santa had brought us. I remember the darkness of the morning, the soft glow of the lights on the tree, and the feeling of Christmas in the air.
–Leigh Ann, Genie in a Blog
Ah so many memories…my Grandma Angie’s tamales, my sister and I wearing matching holiday PJs on Christmas Eve, and reading a personal letter from my mom on Christmas morning.
–Kelly, Kelly Tirman
Santa used to leave a note in the most beautiful, elaborate red script, always on the same holly-bordered note cards, thanking my brother and I for the milk and cookies. When I discovered the truth about Santa, I wondered about the notes. Turns out, my Dad did the Santa handwriting! He only used that script with its curlicues and flair once a year, but it was always the same, always unique and special.
–Cameron, Cameron Garriepy
As a kid, I loved my family’s Hanukah traditions…but felt left out of the beautiful Christmas celebrations my friends enjoyed. As in, MAJOR CHRISTMAS ENVY. I begged for a tree in our house. My parents refused. I hung my socks on the fireplace. Nothing happened.
One year, my friend’s mom invited me over to spend Christmas Eve with them. We sang carols, strung popcorn and cranberries to hang on the tree, and spread tinsel everywhere. There was even a stocking just for me! We traded stories about what our families celebrated and why. Now, I make sure to include our non-Jewish friends in our Hanukah traditions (who doesn’t love a latke?) and celebrate Christmas outside our home. Holiday joy and love are meant to be shared no matter which way your family celebrates!
–Jenny, Karma (continued…)
Christmas Eve with my dad’s side of the family drew to a close, snow falling gently to the ground in a powdery blanket. I drifted to sleep in the backseat, looking for reindeer above our car, dreaming of Santa as my parents drove almost five hours in the snow. I didn’t awake as my dad carried me into my Nan’s house well past midnight, and in the morning I never noticed their stifled yawns as my brother and I marveled at Santa’s magical ability to find us over two hundred miles from home.
–Angela, Tiaras and Trucks
My favorite image…the simple and quiet, yet grand finale to our Christmas Eve church service. The lights of the church are dimmed and each of us holds a candle. We begin singing, Silent Night and someone near the front of the church lights their candle. One by one, we turn to our neighbor, gently lighting their candle with ours. Before long, the entire church is illuminated by tiny flickers of light. The piano drops out and a capella we sing, “Son of God…Love’s Pure Light…” Suddenly, for me…it’s Christmas!
I’m sitting in the back of the family station wagon as each of us sings “our” days of The 12 Days of Christmas at the top of our tone-deaf lungs. I can still hear my 9-year-old voice: “FIIIVE GOOOLLLLDDDDENNNN RIIIIIIINGS!” I cannot wait to teach my children the song.
–Alex, Late Enough
Finding a Cabbage Patch doll under the tree, even though my parents warned me that so many little girls wanted them that even Santa’s elves were having a hard time keeping up with the demand and that maybe I should ask Santa for something else.
–Shell, Things I Can’t Say
I don’t remember believing in Santa, but I also don’t remember thinking he was a total fake. My parents…no matter how old we got…always waited until we were sleeping to stuff all the stockings and load up under the tree. Even in up into my teen years there was something magical about the way the living room transformed over night.
–Katie, Sluiter Nation
On Christmas Eve every year we children gathered around our sweet Grandpa Jack and he read “The Night Before Christmas” to us. It was a special tradition that we all looked forward to right before we opened our presents. When we started to have our own children, he was able to read it to them too, which was very special. My mother took a video of this the year before he passed on that I will always cherish.
–Selena, Annie & Isabel
When I was 18, every present I opened was a shirt I already owned, a box of tissues, something that wasn’t really a present. The last gift was large and marked for my dad. He told my sister and me we could open it for him. It was a cd player that was really for me. Mom completely fooled me that year!
–Jennifer, Midwest Momments
Growing up, it was always magical when it snowed on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t a regular occurrence, so when it did happen it was really special. I remember those Christmases the best. Ironic as I have since moved to Florida to get away from snow…
–Elizabeth Flora Ross, The Writer Revived
My favorite Christmas memory is baking cookies with my Grandma when I was little. We would bake like crazy, and as soon as she would turn her back to do something, I would sneak a bite of cookie dough.
–Evonne, All You Need is Love
Every year my parents made me and my three siblings sit on the stairs in our jammies while they checked to make sure Santa had come. We would wiggle and squirm and slowly inch our way down the stairs. They would go in the kitchen, turn on lights, and make coffee. It felt like they were moving in slow motion.
Finally they would announce that Santa INDEED HAD COME! We all tore down the stairs into the living room. The site of shiny packages always made us scream with delight.
My dad would put on his Santa hat, sit down by the tree, and pass out presents one-by-one.
We still do this tradition, only now it with our kids. My dad has tried to get out of playing Santa. But we insist. It just wouldn’t be the same.
–Kris, What’s Cooking?
Now, I’d love to hear your favorite memories! Please share them in the comments!