Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you are having a wonderful day as you get ready for Christmas. Personally, I love Christmas Eve! More than I like Christmas, even. I also love Christmas Eve Eve, which was yesterday. I don't know. There's just something about the anticipation that gets me all giddy.

My stepson, now 15-years-old, often counts the days down. I still remember a few years ago when it was "only two days ‘til Christmas," for about a week. Wishful thinking?

I can’t help but share his enthusiasm. I love Christmas. I love the lights, the bustle of people (okay, maybe not the bustle of people), and wrapping gifts in cheerful paper.

Inevitably at some point today, he will ask, "but when are we going to read the little book?" The first time he asked (a few years ago) my heart filled with joy.

You see, "the little book" is one of my Christmas ornaments. It is a 2x2" red leather bound copy of The Night Before Christmas. It has crisp aged white pages with gold edges and an inscription in my mother’s perfect cursive: "To Sherri: With love from Mommy & Daddy. Dec. 1979." I was two years old when my parents gave that to me and it has hung on the Christmas tree every year since.

The first Christmas I spent with my husband (then boyfriend) and stepson, I suggested we read it before going to bed on Christmas Eve. We all piled together under a blanket and took turns reading. We have continued to read it before bed on Christmas Eve every Christmas since.

Though it's always in my plans, what has really surprised me is that my stepson asks for it. In fact, last year when he asked what we were doing for Christmas Eve and I mentioned visits with family and friends and tying up loose ends, he immediately asked, "But we're going to read the little book, right?"

As parents we want to know that we are making a difference. As a stepmom I often wonder if I'm having any positive impact. That one question of his, the way he looks forward to a silly little thing that I also look forward to... that is magic. A little activity that I started five Christmases ago has become a tradition that would be missed if we didn’t do it. Christmas really does bring people together.

Happy holidays to you and yours! May you cherish your family traditions, big and small.

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