Today, I would wager that every single one of you woke up, got to work, checked your calendar, and said “HOLY COW there are less than TWO WEEKS until Christmas???”
In fact, two weeks from now, at this time, BOOM—it’s over.
For some reason, this year I’ve really been in the holiday spirit.
I’ve been in an exceptionally good mood (which is unusual, trust me, I generally hate everything).
And feeling strangely nostalgic.
The nostalgia thing could be happening for a number of reasons:
- My son is 15 now, and all “give me money so I can go shopping myself!” Gone are the days of the cherub-cheeked lad waking me up on Christmas morning!
- I’m getting old. Really old. Very close, in fact, to one of those dreaded milestone birthdays. And every time I think of it, it shocks me to bits.
- And, well, I don’t have any family here in Ontario. My family, I mean. They’re all in the Maritimes, and will be getting together over the holidays numerous times at various households. And I haven’t been home for Christmas in 25 years (trust me, it’s better to visit the Maritimes in the summer!).
Missing my family so much, as I am this year, got me reminiscing.
About my crazy crew, and some of the memories I have from Christmases past, as well as some of our traditions, which I have continued to follow with my own family.
- The tree DOES NOT go up until the week before Christmas. Other decorations are allowed.
- Any cards that arrive in the mail that have presents in them—gift cards, cash, checks—go on the tree, like ornaments, and are opened Christmas morning with the other presents.
- We’re allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve, usually pajamas.
- Stockings get placed at the end of each child’s bed by often inebriated parents (see below).
- On Christmas morning, you always have Bloody Caesars—the national drink of Canada—because, hair of the dog.
- And, all the gifts go neatly back under the tree after being unwrapped so you can show your friends what you got from Santa when they pop over.
Scenes from Christmas Past
But it’s not just traditions that get passed down.
Memories do too.
With all the hullabaloo around the holidays, it’s no surprise when a present gets forgotten, someone gets a little tipsy and drops the deviled eggs, or the tree falls over.
It’s those moments that make the best Christmases ever, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.
The Great Easy Bake Oven Swindle
I wanted an Easy Bake Oven.
I mean, I wanted one BAD.
I was probably six or seven.
My sister, who is, and always will be (as I like to remind her) older than me had one, but its broken shell sat in our basement for years.
Well, wasn’t I surprised when I opened my presents that long ago Christmas morning, only to find my sister’s old Easy Bake Oven, in working condition once again!
Dad told me that Santa’s elves had come into the basement, late on Christmas Eve, and fixed it just for me, and I bought the story hook, line, and sinker.
My parents were nothing if not frugal. And creative.
The “Why Are Santa’s Presents Already Here?” Debacle
Every Christmas Eve, my mom threw a shindig.
Everyone came—family, friends, neighbors. She would be dressed to the nines, and the spread she prepared was legendary.
There were lots of laughs, lots of food, and definitely lots of drink (see above re: Bloody Caesars).
The kids ran around doing what kids did back in the good old days—they played in the basement, being ignored.
Clearly, even at a tender age, I wanted to be a part of the party, and I snuck upstairs.
Then I snuck into mom and dad’s room. Then I peeked. I found presents from Santa!!
I promptly marched myself into the center of the living room, and loudly demanded to know why Santa’s presents were already here.
Well, you know that sound effect? In movies? Like a scratched record—where everything stops on a dime?
Yeah, that happened.
I got in so much trouble. Not only did I discover Santa wasn’t real—I got into trouble on Christmas Eve.
Wait a second…..maybe that’s why I don’t go home for Christmas…???
The Inebriated Parents/Christmas Stocking Catastrophe
Ok, I might have kicked the stocking off the end of my bed in my sleep, but it makes a better story to blame the inebriated parents!
In case you hadn’t gathered yet, I’m the youngest in my family.
The youngest of three.
My sister and brother were (are) older than I am, and one would think more responsible. More…caring, if you will.
I’ll never forget the Christmas morning I woke up, and excitedly leapt to the end of my bed, only to find…nothing!
SANTA DIDN’T LEAVE ME A STOCKING!!
I ran sobbing to my siblings, and I’m pretty sure it was my evil brother who checked my room. Oh, he found the stocking, which had fallen on the floor and part way under the bed.
But if memory serves, I’m also fairly certain he let me sob and bawl and go on like a lunatic for a very, very long time before he showed it to me. No wonder I’m such a damaged individual!
So, there you have it. A small window into the Bell-Wheeler household, Christmas present, and Christmas past.
I would love it if you would share some of your holiday traditions and memories in the comments, whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year.
That’s us in the picture above. Wow. Forty-plus years ago? And yes. That’s the aforementioned lost stocking!