Hey!!! I’m daughter #1, the high-maintenance one, the princess, the anal-retentive one, the materialistic one; however you want to look at it. I am happy to write as a guest blogger on my Dad’s blog.
So, I’m home for the holidays. I currently live in Stamford, CT. Technically, a cross between being its own little metropolis and a suburb of New York City. Dad wanted me to comment on holiday traditions, but I thought I would give a commentary on how I remember Christmas growing up.
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Yes, of course the gifting part of it was huge, but also the traditions, the Christmas carols, decorating, random acts of kindness. I definitely take after my Dad-we are total holiday fanatics. Being a traditionalist, we do a lot of the same things, every Christmas. So not many stand out in my mind. But we got things down to sort of a routine.
First of all, in one of his posts, my Dad wonders if he took the kids to see Santa. That would be a negative, ghostrider. I think I remember seeing a picture of us with Santa, so we must have gone to see him, but I’m sure the nanny took us. Seeing Santa, the one time we must have sat on his lap, I think must have made me apprehensive. Like when you have to confess your sins to your priest at First Communion. You feel like you have to tell him you haven’t been 100% good, cuz what kid is an angel? But you can’t confess anything THAT bad, or you wouldn’t get any presents, in Santa’s case. Plus, it’s always awkward to sit on some strange man’s lap. Um, I mean, it must be, right?
I remember writing letters to Santa. I think I started reading at a pretty early age, and thus writing at a relatively early age. I was on Yearbook in high school, AP English, a Journalism major (don’t judge me!!). I would like to think my grammar and penmanship were impeccable, even at the tender age of 5. The letters probably went something like:
Hi! My name is Daughter #1. I live in Woodbridge, Virginia. In case you aren’t sure where that is, it is 20 minutes south of Our Nation’s Capital. I hope you and Mrs. Claus and the Reindeer and Elves are very well. I have been a very good girl this year. I want X, Y, and Z. I hope that is not a problem. Have a safe trip! Love, Daughter # 1
I suppose I’d put them in the mailbox with paid postage and my parents would take it out in the dark of night to see what I wanted. But Santa always ate the milk and cookies we left out! Seriously, it must have been an f-ing nightmare to wrap all the Christmas gifts after Children’s Mass (now THAT is a nightmare) before us kids woke up at 5 AM.
As for traditions, we don’t have anything crazy. We used to start listening to carols the moment the Thanksgiving dinner was served; we would go look for a tree together, decorate it together, go to Children’s Mass on Christmas Eve (because it was the shortest mass, with all the screaming kids); watch One Magic Christmas, go to bed. God forbid we open a present on Christmas Eve. We would ask, but to no avail. You’d think we were asking our parents for half a million bucks. We would wake up at 5 or 6 am, go and jump on our parents bed (well, I would, I’d always bee the first up). We would have to sit at the top of the stairs while they dragged their tired butts out of bed, I’m sure only running on 2 hours of sleep. Dad would have to get the ancient, huge, heavy, camcorder ready to film. The twins and I would be going nuts by now. Then we would race downstairs when the parentals were FINALLY ready, to open our stockings. There was something magical in the early years about seeing our stockings full, and presents literally spilling into all corners of our living room. After tossing aside our tantalizing stocking stuffers (socks, chapstick, candy) we would go racing into the “nice room” to open the real deal. Back in the day, we used to find our “section”-whichever part of the tree you decorated as your section-that’s where Santa would leave your gifts. And we’d open presents all at the same time like starving men on a morsel of food. Now, we mix them up and someone plays “Elf”, and everyone watches the person who has an gift, which stretches present-opening time to about a 3 hour ordeal. After that we have a huge breakfast with mimosas (that came later, obviously our parents didn’t feed us alcohol when we were 8), and then I guess we watched football all day? I think my Dad would make a fire if it was especially cold. Then Christmas dinner.
I have to be honest, this was the first Christmas I haven’t really felt it was ‘tis the season. Work is busy, we had several Christmas parties to go to, I obviously can’t share in a lot of the traditions my family is involved in as I’m up in Connecticut. But it’s great being back with family. Because that is so important-being thankful for your family, the ones who will always be there for you. I am very, very thankful for my family. I wish you Merry Christmas, from the Northeast.