Growing up, there was no magic in Christmas. It was a time of year that my parents dreaded and drowned out their anxiety with a bottle of jack. We never had a ten foot tree with twinkling lights, sentimental ornaments, and piles of presents tucked underneath. In fact, it was a good year if mom decorated the house at all.
Of course, we had our traditions. Christmas Eve was spent with dad’s family, eating, drinking (lots), and being merry at Grandma’s house. For us kids, it meant playing baseball in the basement, wheelchair races down the lane, and opening all the “good” presents. Mom, Dad, and I would leave just before they hit their “no driving” limit, only to drink themselves into a drunken stupor the moment we got home.
It was a good Christmas morning if Mom and Dad weren’t too hung over to remember to put the presents under the tree before I woke up. By the time high school came around, they didn’t even try anymore. It did not matter much anyway, the presents were never a surprise. I knew the big present in the back was the new comforter I needed, the small one up front was the hairbrush I’d been asking for for months. The gifts were always practical, needs rather than wants.
When mom and dad would finally pull themselves together, we would make our way to Mom-mom and Pop-pop’s house for Christmas Day lunch. I’d listen to Megan talk about all the gifts she got and the cool new four wheeler she couldn’t wait to ride later that day, while patiently waiting for lunch to be over, so I could go home and hide in my room the rest of the day.
Those childhood memories haunted me every year and led me to despise Christmas as an adult. But then I married a Christmas loving fool, who quickly pulled me out of my bah humbug spirit, and brought the magic of Christmas, that I had so long ago forgotten.
Some of you may have stories like mine. Others of you, like my husband, could not fathom a Christmas like that. With the Christmas spirit in full swing and the countdown dwindling in the single digits, I want to take the next few days to share our family’s Christmas traditions and the true meaning of Christmas. Tomorrow, my husband will share his childhood Christmas memories. Throughout this week, I will share with you our family traditions and how they came to be. Ending the holiday season with the birth of Christ Jesus and the salvation He offers. Come back and celebrate with us.