Christmas! I don’t know about you, but Christmas is one of my favorite holidays! Why? It’s not because of the presents (although it is an added bonus!). Christmas is my fav because of my families traditions. Can you believe I get to celebrate Christmas 3 times? My family has been following these traditions since before I was born! I truly cherish these moments with my family.
To begin the holiday Christmas traditions, we travel to my mom’s parent’s house. Thankfully, they live only an hour away because I’m ready to see my cousins! It is a crazy, busy house with all 11 of us, plus 2 dogs!
As soon as we were old enough to sit still, my grandma started a cookie/treat making tradition. My mom makes all kinds of sugar cookies, and grandma buys pretzels and shortbread cookies and it is our job to decorate them! All 5 of us cousins gather at a round table surrounded by frosting, melted chocolate and SPRINKLES! I love all the pretty colored sprinkles! We decorate pretzels (long and christmas shaped), cutout cookies, and dip the short bread cookies in chocolate. Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I snuck a few broken pretzels into my mouth when no one was looking!
Christmas Eve is a crazy busy hectic day! We eat a big breakfast and then open some of our gifts with my cousins and then we get ready for the big dinner party that night. All us cousins are in charge of setting the table with the Christmas plates and fancy silverware.
The Christmas Eve party is a sight to behold. My grandparents started this tradition the year my parents got engaged! They invited my dad’s family and they have been coming ever since! It is so cool that I get to spend Christmas Eve with my whole family! It is such a special evening with everyone! And the food! Wow! It is a spread!
It’s Christmas! We wait all year for this special day! Do you know why it is so special (besides the presents)? It is the day that God’s son was born on the earth so that one day he would make the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for our sins!
After breakfast, we open our gifts with my mom’s parents. It takes a while to open gifts because everyone takes turns so everyone can see what they got. I like this tradition because it is like we open the gift too! And besides, it is less chaotic! Once we are done, we pack up and get ready for round 2 at my dad’s parents house.
The car ride to my dad’s parents is a long and awaited trip. The only thing that gets me through is watching one of our new movies or (this year) coloring. As we drive up, my grandparents dog, Forest, greets us with a wagging tail and something in his mouth. I don’t know why but he always has to have something (leave, corn cobb, grass, whatever he can find) in his mouth when he greets us. It’s our joke to say “Hi Forest! How’s your binky?”
We unpack and greet everyone with big hugs. Luckily this house is not as crowded as my other grandparents house. Christmas dinner can be an array of things. In past years, we have had soup and chicken. This year we had a bacon/sausage/pork mix meat. The sausage was in the middle with bacon wrapped around the pork. It was really good!
A neat tradition we have at my dad’s parents house is we take a few minutes to talk about Jesus’ birth on the earth. My grandma Janice likes to read scripture and talk about Jesus’ sacrifice, a special time that brings the focus back to Jesus, reminding me to be thankful of the gifts I am about to open and have already opened.
Now to the good part: present opening! Like my other grandparents, we take turns opening presents and thanking the giver. I like having a time to truly thank the giver, because I know I don’t deserve their gift but they get me one anyway. (Since my two cousins are younger than 3, present opening takes longer) When we’ve all opened our gifts, it is time for desserts! Feeling full and satisfied, I head up to bed. The Christmas magic continues with “Santa” filling up our stockings, and in the morning we open them.
But the present opening doesn’t end there.
We have a Meiss Christmas, all the Meiss aunts and uncles and cousins get together. There were four generations there this year!
Because there are so many of us, we sometimes have to rent my grandparent’s church for the night! The past two years it has been in my uncle’s refurbished barn.The night consists of talking to family we haven’t seen, playing guitars and banjos and singing, eating yummy food, and the present hunt!
What is the present hunt you may ask? It’s our fun way of giving gifts. All the presents are placed in the middle of the room and chairs are circled around. Each person gets four cards from two card decks. When your card is called, you drop it on the floor and pick a present. When there are no more presents in the circle, that is where the fun begins! You go and steal other people’s presents that you want. The present hunt soon becomes a crazy chaotic mess of fun. Once the cards run out, you get to tear open the gifts!
My family has some normal and some strange Christmas traditions. But I love all the crazy super traditions all the same and wouldn’t change them for anything!