Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tradition :)

Elijah Christmas Eve 2007

Oma & Caleb Christmas Eve 2008
 We all have holiday traditions in our families. Some people hide a glass pickle ornament in the tree (yeah...I have no idea what that is all about). Some traditions are passed down through the generations. Sometimes the younger generations may not even know why they are doing something a certain way....all they know is that it's tradition. I can remember when Jose and were just married and it was New Year's Eve. We were at my Mom's house and Jose was telling her about the tradition of peeling 12 grapes at midnight and eating them. She asked him why and he said that he wasn't really sure. Maybe something about peeling off the last 12 months and starting the year out new. He said he'd ask him Dad but it was something they had done all his life. So the next morning he asked his Dad and it turned out that his Dad liked grapes but didn't like the skins :) That story still cracks me up! Anywaysers.....back to Christmas Eve and our family tradition. My Mom grew up in a small town in what used to be Western Germany. A gorgeous little beach town. (I love it there) Our Christmas Eve tradition comes from her family. Each year on December 1st, we would open a little door on our advent calendar and eat the little chocolate hiding behind it. Then on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) we would wake up and find our shoes filled with Dutch and German candies and a large chocolate letter representing the first letter of our name. December was so exciting because with each new day and each new door opened on our calendars we knew we were one day closer to
David Christmas Eve 2009
Gabriel & Brandon Christmas Eve 2009

the best day ever!!!! On December 24th we would get up early, have breakfast and leave the house with our Dad. It was always a magical day to have the entire day with our Dad alone! He would take us to play miniature golf or when we were a bit older he'd take us to a family billiards place to play pool. (He was a billiards champion in Holland as a young man) We'd have lunch somewhere and come back home by 4:00pm. While we were gone, my Mom would put up the tree, decorate the house, and get everything ready for Christmas Eve. We would come in the back door and she had a sheet tacked up across the living room door, so we couldn't see in there. We'd have to go to our room, change into our Christmas clothes and wait behind the door until we heard her ring the special glass Christmas bell to let us  know that we could come in. My brother and I used to both try to put our hand on the door knob and wrestle around to be the one who could open the door first :) Then we'd hear her put on the German Christmas album. The lights would go dim under the door and we'd hear the bell...... We'd burst through the door and see the Christmas tree and all the gifts underneath for the very first time and the room was aglow lit only by candles. Ah...the smell of the real noble fir Christmas tree and the brightly painted German little Christmas wooden incense burners and seeing the "bunte teller" (means colorful plates), one for each of us, filled with our favorite Dutch and German treats. We would all hug each other and say "Merry Christmas", before we could even think about attacking our presents. The tree and all the decorations were all a part of our Christmas suprise! It was so magical! I was the designated gift-passer-outer and I'd hand packages to each person one at a time so that we could all see the reactions to the gifts. Not like the frenzied free for all of wrapping paper flying different directions all at once. I had friends growing up, of course, that celebrated the American way. But I have always felt that we had the best "Heilig Abend" (Holy Night). On the 25th while everyone else in our neighborhood was waking up at the crack of dawn to open the presents that they had been shaking and peeking into since Thanksgiving, my parents would sleep in and we would either be in the backyard riding our new bikes or skates or playing quietly in the living room until it was time for breakfast. When my children were born, we did the same thing at our home. After a day with their Daddy we would pack up the kids at 5:00pm and go to my Mom & Dad's house every year on Christmas Eve and the tradition continued with us. When my Dad passed away in 1989, I took over "Heilig Abend" at my home and my Mom comes to our house. My brother and his family come to our home to celebrate with us, but still put up their tree early and open some of their gifts on the 25th like his wife's family did. My children are married and they come over to our home and celebrate with us, but also do the 25th thing at their own homes because they have spouses who celebrate that way too. I thought (up until last week) that I would be the end of the line for our family tradition, but my daughter just told me that she wants to carry this on with her family. She talked with her husband about how much this tradition has meant to her growing up and so on the 24th, her hubby is going to take their little boy out for the day while she stays home to decorate. My heart is happy and I know my Mom is going to be happy too :)


  1. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    I hang up the universe and play with all the noisy ones while my kids complain, they get to open one gift Christmas eve....always pjams, Christmas morning they grab their stockings and ours and come get in bed with us, we sing happy birthday to baby Jesus and then dump the stockings and compare.

  2. This is so sweet! I think family traditions are wonderful. Your traditions sounds very special. It's nice that your daughter wants to carry it on as well.