Things have changed a lot since I was little, but some things have definitely stayed the same.
When I was younger, I loved Christmas time (still do).
My sister and I would have watched Christmas movies and listened to Christmas music all year if we had been allowed. It got so bad that eventually mom made a rule - no Christmas anything until after Santa Claus came in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (That rule is still in place haha.)
I loved that parade - and still watch it to this day, whether anyone watches it with me or not. (And not just cause of that rule haha.)
Midnight mass was one of my favorite things. Well, all of Christmas Eve really. We would go out and look at Christmas lights, sometimes stop and get ice cream at Dairy Queen - and the church was always so beautiful - all the colors and decorations. When we got home, we would get to open one gift before bed - and it was always pajamas (still is) - a tradition that we continued with my nieces.
I loved decorating the Christmas tree too. All the old ornaments that had memories, plus the new ones that we added every year. And the ones that we made were always neat too. Every year mom would buy a sample box of chocolates and we'd share them as we decorated. It was fun for all.
Helping mom with Christmas dinner was always so much fun for me. Definitely something I looked forward too.
I loved getting gifts - all kids do - but my favorite thing was the Christmas cards that I got from my Grandparents (with or without the cash enclosed) and the fact that we would get oranges and apples in our stockings.
By the time the THINGS came along, we as a family had started to grow apart in some ways and things just weren't the same. I was the only one who was interested in a lot of the traditions that I had grown up loving and my nieces were my chance to start them up again.
Christmas stories, Christmas crafts, decorating the house, making our own Advent wreath ... it was always so much fun. Even midnight mass and going to look at lights was something that the three of us enjoyed, though I just couldn't get them to sit there through the whole parade haha (Kids these days. So desensitized .... well, you all know what the Grinch says. :p)
It went from getting excited to see what Santa would bring me to having loads of fun shopping for them, sneaking the gifts under the tree to see their faces on Christmas morning. And instead of me helping mom make dinner - now it was them helping me.
And now - I think I'm just as much a kid now as I was then in some ways. I still love Christmas. I decorated the house and am still enjoying all of the lights.
This year it's just mom and I. And how am I spending my day? Well, we made breakfast together (cinnamon raisin french toast with syrup and whipped cream, sliced pears and mom had bacon) - and will be making dinner together later (homemade pizza - from scratch, not out of a box or with a mix). We went to midnight mass last night, will be going to see Christmas lights tonight - I've already watched the Disney Christmas Parade and I'm watching Scrooged and other Christmas movies while laying on the couch and enjoying the day.
Mom and I decided that we weren't going all out for gifts this year - I surprised her with her favorite candy, a homemade card and got her several mysteries for her Kindle. She bought me a beautiful bowl that she filled with candy, a tape dispenser shaped like a high heel (horrible, but I love my mom's horrible gifts haha - it's already on my desk) and a wall calendar with cats on it (to make me smile after losing Tempe a few weeks ago). As always, it's from my mom and it's the best.
I guess the best gift of all this year is her and I being together - and that her and I are finally in a good place. Also all the friends I have made this year - some of them are very dear to me (they know who they are and they know how I feel about them).
So, I've said it before and I'll say it again ...
Nollaig shona dhuit
Feliz navidad ...
What are some of the traditions you guys love?