I’ve been doing some thinking and talking about holiday traditions lately, and revisiting the traditions of my childhood. We all have different ways of celebrating our holidays, and it’s interesting to see how those celebrations change when we have our own families!
When my children were younger, I began a tradition that we still carry out today. I would buy everyone matching pajamas and place them on their bed on Christmas Eve. That way, we could all wake up on Christmas Day wearing our new pajamas. In our family, Christmas morning has been our very special time together. It starts off with breakfast and opening up Christmas gifts; we take it slow and stay in our pajamas for most of the day. Our Christmas Day dinner is usually homemade tacos, which are a family favorite.
As the years have passed and my children have become adults, I have tried very hard to continue the tradition of making tamales and having the family together on Christmas Eve so that we can all enjoy Christmas Day. Christmas Eve usually includes our extended family: siblings, spouses, nieces, nephews. The count is often up to 30 or more people! It's fun to see how all the children enjoy each other’s company. And I love that we can all eat our tamales and make beautiful memories together.
Now that our family has grown in number, we usually just buy gifts for the children. Instead of worrying about what to buy each other, the adults can simply sit and enjoy seeing the smiles on the little ones as they open up their gifts. It’s so wonderful to see how the family grows and changes over the years, and it’s a great time to make priceless memories.
One of the beauties of traditions is that we can carry on old ones from our childhood while still having the freedom to create new traditions. This tradition has faded over the years because my older children live on the East Coast, but we always used to go to a play or a theater show a few weeks before Christmas. However, I do still enjoy going to the movies on Christmas Day with my children. I realize that it's not very creative, but there is something so enjoyable about going to an afternoon movie with my now-adult children. I must confess that I have not always chosen the best movies to watch, but that usually turns out to be a funny part of the day and a memory in its own right.
My heart’s desire is that my grandchildren will carry on the tradition of tamale-making and family gatherings. I hope to instill in them the love of family and traditions, of food, fun and laughter.
I realize that distance is a challenge for a lot of families these days. But I am committed to bringing my children together as often as I can so that we can continue to share in the beautiful joy of dinners, game nights, and laughter. It might mean that we won't all get to have a happy dinner together on Christmas Day, but whenever we're all under the same roof, it will still feel like Christmas.