Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Re-Runs -- Holiday Traditions

What are the holiday traditions that have shaped your life?

Christmas the previous Casa de Taylor, circa 2010.
Well, like most folks I know, my family travels all over the place during the holidays visiting family. We drive to the the four winds to spend time with my family, my wife's family, and to various other parties, activities, and functions that come with the territory when one has three kids in middle and high school.

But for us, the real fun begins on Christmas Eve. Our tradition is to open one present that night while we listen to Christmas music and drink hot wassail (Lisa makes the best wassail!). After the presents, we'll often watch a classic Christmas special (favorites are Rudolph and How the Grinch Stole Christmas). After that, it's time for bed.

On Christmas morning, nobody is allowed to dig into their stockings or gifts until everyone is awake. Usually my teenage daughter Charis is the last human awake. Then we empty the stockings first before breakfast. One thing we've always done is to take turns rather than everyone emptying them all at once. That way the person opening the gift gets all the attention for that time, and then so one (yes, like a board game).

After stockings, we typically have a nice breakfast and clear away the dishes before we actually start opening presents. Once we've back in the living room, we read the Christmas story from Luke 2, and go around the group mentioning all the things we're particularly thankful for during the year. Only after reflecting on what we already appreciate do we dig into the wrapped gifts.

At that point, we takes turns again, opening presents one at a time, in a circle, giving each gift and recipient our full attention. (After all, why spend all the time looking for it if you're not going to enjoy watching it being opened?)

Once all the gifts are done, like everyone else, it's time to solve the puzzles that are the packaging and then a mad scramble for batteries.

Perhaps for me, the most important part of our tradition at the Casa de Taylor is that we take turns with the presents, and do that only after reflecting on the good things we're already thankful for first.

But enough about me, what are your holiday traditions?