Christmas Traditions and Memories

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This post is brought to you by Grandpa Points, though the sentiment of it absolutely rings true for me, too! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all.

Christmas is a big deal in our family, A REALLY BIG DEAL. We like lights, a lot of lights. Twinkling lights, big lights, mini lights, red and green lights, white lights, lights on things and lights by themselves.

Our tree each year is a ceiling scraper. We have permanent streaks and scrapes etched in our white popcorn finished ceiling from trees gone by that have left their mark when they were raised into place. We like contemporary decorations but we have nostalgic homages to our Christmases past prominently placed here and there for both effect and affect and for the sake of keeping yesterday’s beautiful memories fresh.

Old catalogues share space with the new and the books from our youth co-exist with the books of today.

Each room is touched by The Season. Each heart is filled with The Spirit. Each day is full of anticipation and more Christmasy than the day before.

From Thanksgiving on, our car satellite radio is set to the SiriusXM Holly and Christmas Traditions channels and we join the chorus as we sing-a-long to the nonstop Christmas music. We all know “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud so all can hear.” At home, we play our seasonal favorites from our collection on our Bose CD player. Yes, Virginia there really are those of us who still use CDs. We even have a pecking order of importance as to when in the season certain albums are played. It is sort of a least favorite to most favorite kind of thing. The last 5, our most revered, are The Carpenter’s CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT, the 1996 and 97 CHRISTMAS WITH THE STARS compilations, Barry Manilow’s A CHRISTMAS GIFT OF LOVE and Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme’s THAT HOLIDAY FEELING.

And if the songs on those CDs don’t get you in the mood, you might just need a Christmas hug.

We scan TV, Netflix, our own DVD collection and On Demand for the classic Christmas movies that we have virtually and delightfully memorized from years of annual viewing. Lines from the movies permeate our conversations throughout the year and serve almost like a secret familial code that are certain to elicit smiles, laughter and an affirming nod each and every time they are referenced. ELF, CHRISTMAS VACATION, CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS, THE SANTA CLAUSE,  HOME ALONE and WHITE CHRISTMAS are must-sees for our family.

While we are certainly guilty of using the convenience of online shopping and for sending our Christmas Wish List to Santa Amazon, we also look forward to going to the malls for some good ol’ fashioned hand to hand combat shopping. We have an intrinsic need to be in the middle of some human hustle and bustle that is at the heart of the Christmas Rush. My wife shops early and I shop late. I wrap early and she wraps late. I am a big believer in big packages and gifts that are disguised. Even the smallest of gifts, like jewelry or lottery tickets, will likely end up in a box 2 feet by 3 feet. I feel this adds to the suspense and wonder as the physical size opens up an almost endless array of possibilities as to what might be wrapped inside. And don’t be surprised if there are a series of wrapped boxes to go through before the actual gift is found.

The area below our tree is like restricted airspace before midnight on Christmas Eve. No gifts are allowed. It is not that we are suggesting that all the gifts are Santa delivered but rather it is for the dramatic impact that all the gifts make when they simultaneously and magically appear. Where none existed, overnight the floor explodes with gifts like a super bloom in the desert. While a by-product of this is that we preclude the temptations that available gifts offer the curious minds and busy hands of our children and now our grandchildren, the biggest reason is the production value WOW factor.



We store many boxes from one Christmas to the next. We do this recycling because some of them are really good boxes, because we always need more boxes during the gift wrapping season and because of the history that some of the boxes hold for us. The big square box the original I-Mac came in makes an annual appearance under the tree and we all know the backstory that comes with it. Other boxes are from favorite stores that no longer exist, like Foleys, that had special significance in our past.

The boxes are littered with scraps of wrapping paper and tape from previous Christmas lives and it is great fun trying to remember, or guess?, what was hidden in these cardboard confines in 2016, 2012,1994 or…..

My favorite part of the season is between December 10 – 23rd. By December 10, all the lights are up and running, the decor is finished and I am in full holiday mode with the excitement and anticipation running at full RPMs.  These are the days I am in my Christmas prime. I milk each day for all they are worth. As the days melt away, the countdown continues, all systems are green and eventually Christmas is given a “go” for launch.

We are not sad or depressed on Christmas Day as it is always a grand day, but there is something very final and finite when the last gift is opened. It is sort of like the last out of The World Series or the final curtain of a great performance. We just enjoy it all so much and it was so much fun that we hate to see it come to an end.

But, if the good Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise, sometime around Labor Day next year, we will hear that there are only 100, then 50, then 30 shopping days left till Christmas. Our eyebrows will raise, our pulse will quicken and a smile will creep across our face and we will know, without any doubt, that IT’S CHRISTMASTIME AGAIN!! Yippee!


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    • Thanks so much. Our most important tradition is the enjoyment, the anticipation and the unique magic of he season.
      Happiest of Holidays and thanks for being such a loyal Mommypoints follower and contributor.

    • Thank you for the greeting. We not only like the Carpenter’s special sound and the style that they use, we also like the songs they selected and the large number of tunes included. You get a lot of Christmas bang from their beloved CD. The best of The Season to you!

  1. Thanks for showing I’m not the only Christmas hoarder (old tinsel, ornaments and the like which are PERFECTLY USEFUL) and showing the stunning before/after tree pics. We, too, save the broken-down boxes to use in another year. Just delightful.

    Almost enough for me to overlook the omission of Johnny Mathis. 🙂

    Merry Christmas to all of you.

    • Thanks for the kind comments. I always get a charge from Johnny Mathis’ WINTER WONDERLAND. It is an iconic Christmas tune. Nostalgia and trips down Christmas Memory Lane are such an essential part of our seasonal enjoyment and experience. Thanks again and have a great one.

  2. Love you love of the Christmas season. Great traditions and wonderful memories for your family. Sounds like your family has a wonderful Christmas.

    • Well, we do love Christmas and all its trappings. We were raised in a Christmasey family and we try hard to pass on the excitement, the magic, the anticipation and the uniqueness of the season. We so appreciate your kind comments and we thank you for them and for being a Mommypoints follower.

  3. As always I enjoy your posts. It is really awesome to read that the commercialization of Christmas hasn’t spoiled it for your family. Nice to hear that you blew it out of the water again!!Happy New Year and hope the year allows you to cross off trips from your bucket list!

    • Bless your USA heart of gold for your always considerate and thoughtful comments.We hope you and yours are having a great holiday season and that each tomorrow, each year, is the best yet. THANKS SO MUCH!

  4. What a FANTASTIC article, and one I wished I had read prior to Christmas in order to share the contents with my extended family. Apparently, Summer gets her incredible gift for words from inherited genes! Thank you for sharing, and best wishes for a 2018 filled with travel and joy.

    • What a thrill to read such sweet comments! You certainly made a cold, wet and dreary day down here in Texas much warmer, brighter and more rewarding. We also wish the best for you and your family in the upcoming year. Thanks again!

  5. I always love Grandpa Points posts and this one is just wonderful! Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    On another note – I think I too may have an old Foley’s box laying around :).

    • Thanks so much for the gracious and kind comments. It is always rewarding to hear that a written account of our experiences, our journeys and our thoughts are received positively. Hold on to that Foley’s box as it likely holds some special memory from a legendary store. The Best of The Holidays to you! Thanks again.

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