Christmas After Marriage

After I was married and had children, as often as possible we tried to get down to Los Angeles and spend the holiday with my parents.

Because hubby was a sailor there wasn't a lot of money for Christmas. I usually made a lot of gifts and charged some too. One year I ordered everything out of a catalog--and I learned my credit wasn't approved too late to do anything about it. My mom gave me $25 and believe it or not, I managed to buy some fine gifts for everyone. (I think I only had three kids at the time.)

After that I started buying gifts all through the year.

The year I was pregnant with my third child due on Christmas day, everyone including my grandparents came to our house in Oxnard for Christmas. I suspect I did the cooking though I don't really remember.

Another year I was working and had to go to work before the kids were up on Christmas day. I missed the present opening and we had to go out to eat. Not one of my favorite Christmases.

The last year we went to my Mom's for Christmas, my big present was a $1000 check. Wow! What to do with it. We decided to use it for a vacation. Amazingly that money paid for a trip to Busch Gardens for hubby and me and 4 of our kids, a motel near Disneyland, Disneyland, Japanese Village, Knott's Berry Farm, and the Wax Museum and all of our food. When we got home we had enough money left over to take our married daughter out for a nice dinner. (Money stretched much more back then.)

By this time we had all our Christmases at our own house. I hid presents all over the house--learned in later years, the kids found most of them, unwrapped them and wrapped them back up.

We often had guests for Christmas dinner who didn't have anywhere else to go.

When the kids were grown and we'd moved to Springville as did my sis and all her family, we had drew names and everyone came to our house before Christmas for the gift exchange. The families kept growing and we moved to a recreation room at a trailer park one of my sis's kids lived in.

Sis and her entire family moved to Las Vegas. By that time we were running our care home and had Christmas Eve with our family in Springville and a big Christmas morning with the ladies we cared for along with a traditional Christmas dinner.

We are retired from the care business but we still have our family Christmas Eve. and we're never sure who will show up.

A new tradition for Christmas Day began last year, instead of having dinner at home, I cook a turkey, dressing, candied yams, green bean casserole all in big quantities and take it over to the church. So do a lot of others. We serve a free Christmas Dinner to anyone who has nowhere else to go. We loved it last year and are looking forward to doing it again this year. Our whole family goes and helps serve.

What are your Christmas traditions?



C. N. Nevets said…
Growing up, almost everyone I knew was a Christmas morning family. Mine, with a German father, was a Christmas Eve family. So I'd always assumed that when I got married some day, we would probably combine both.

And that happened.

Sort of.

Alas, while my wife's immediate family was a Christmas morning family, her extended family on her mom's side was a Christmas Eve family, and her dad and step-mom were Christmas Eve people. So suddenly there we were with three different families wanting our attendance on Christmas Eve, which was also my special day.

We have a rough cycle going at this point, rotating families. On Christmas Eve we each open one present from one another, in private for our own Christmas, and then on Christmas morning we do our Christmas at home.

We do advent throughout the season, another thing I learned from my German father, that my wife has really loved, too. On Christmas Eve, wherever we are, we try to celebrate the last advent and then to read through the Christmas story from one of the Gospels, usually in a dim room lit by the Christmas tree and the advent wreath. It's very intimate and spiritual at the same time.

I look forward with hope for the day when we have kids of our own to craft true family traditions that are ours.
That is so great about the free dinner! And I need to start buying Christmas gifts throughout the year. This hectic-last-minute thing is wearing me down.

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