Friday, November 19, 2010

twelve (plus) day of traditions: Christmas Eve memories

This week as been fabulously full of traditions!  If you are just joining us, go back and check out all the posts from the past week.  AND . . .

Go here to enter to learn how to make a juice pouch headband and enter to win two pairs of earrings and a juice pouch wallet as part of Stuff Your Stockings.  A few more hours left to enter!!!!

Go here to enter to win a set of Christmas ornaments or a pdf pattern to make your own set.

Hi there! I'm Laura from along for the ride and I am so excited to be at Twelve Crafts sharing my favorite holiday tradition.

I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. I loved every single thing about being Alaska's child. I loved playing in the snow and warming my wet gloves on the dryer vent so I didn't have to waste one minute going inside for a new pair. I loved the moose that would jump over the fence to spend the night in our backyard. I loved the forget-me-nots and fireweed and bringing in bundles for our dining room table.
It was a painful day when I heard the words "we're moving." As a nine-year-old it was just too much for me to bare. My parents, having lived quite a long time in the last frontier, were more than tired of the long dark winters and decided to move to the lower-48 for a break from the elements. They were full of eager excitement. I was full of denial and the feeling that my life was completely and hopelessly over.

We moved to Pennsylvania (to be closer to my grandparents) a few days before Christmas. I remember looking back one last time at my childhood home and thinking "nothing will ever fell like home again."

We temporarily moved into my grandparents' condominium as a first stop in our great adventure. By the time we got settled and slept off our jet-lag, it was Christmas Eve. I didn't feel much like celebrating...I just wanted to go home. We made a large dinner that night (much different that our usual Christmas Eve tradition) and settled in the living room around the tree. I begged to open one present, just one I promised. My dad picked one out for me telling me he bought it all by himself. I carefully opened it the small box to find a little red pocket knife. My dad told me that I was old enough and thought that every kid needed to know how to use one.

I thanked my dad and put the gift away thinking that was it until Christmas morning, but instead my grandfather said, "well, I guess we all should open just one." So the adults each picked out a gift and ooh'd and awe'd over each present. My dad picked up the wrapping paper and announced it was probably time for bed. "No, we should probably just open one more," my grandpa said from the corner. Well, who was I to argue. I dug right in and found another with my name on it. "Well, Laura can open another," grandpa said again. And before we knew it, Christmas Eve turned into Christmas early morning and we had opened every single present under the tree.
I fell asleep that night on my blow up mattress in the living room, with a smile on my face, thinking that, although I still didn't love the idea that I had to move, there might be some new traditions to be had in this new home.

Now, 16 years later, having our big family dinner, opening presents, and relaxing by the fire Christmas Eve remains my favorite holiday tradition. Although my grandfather passed away 6 years ago this November,  I can feel him with us every time I open just one more present on Christmas Eve. 

Thanks so much Laura!  I love the idea of doing the big meal and gift opening on Christmas Eve leaving time for relaxing and just enjoying family on Christmas Day!

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7 comments: said...

Oh my family does a big evening dinner followed by gifts. It's a bit tricky with little ones but the way we've always done it!

chris said...

Loved this story, Laura. Thanks for sharing.

Annette W. said...

Awe...loved your story, Laura. I hope you grew to enjoy (love?) PA eventually, though Alaska will always be dear to your heart.

Julie said...

what a lovely tradition!

Anonymous said...

that is so sweet! We always do the pjs on Christmas eve and we get a new ornament from my parents every year. :) I have always wondered what it would be like living in Alaska in winter :)

Papgena Made It said...

In my grand parents home we allways do that, open the gifts after dinner (by midnight). Now we open the gifts on the home we are spending the night (my parents or my parents-in-law alternated) and on christmas day on the other house. I left allways a gift for my daughter under her sock, at our home, so when we finally get home, santa has passed! ;)

Live, Love, Craft said...

It's only our 3rd Christmas..but we get each of the kids an ornament each year, we try and tailor it to a significant event that year!...we do the pajamas on Christmas eve too!!

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