Teri Vance: Finding new traditions to celebrate Christmas
For the bulk of my adult life, Christmas has been pretty much a (fruit)cake walk. I enjoy the process of picking out gifts for people because it gives me a chance to think a lot about people I love.
The rest of the traditions surrounding the holiday — like decorating and celebrating — I haven’t really gotten into. Every year, I tack up a yarn Christmas tree I bought in Ecuador and put out my Willow Bill reindeer.
On Christmas morning, I wake up when I want to, then mosey on over to my sister’s house to see what Santa brought the kids and exchange gifts with my family. Then I take a nap.
Easy. Until now.
In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I got married a year-and-a-half ago. Along with a husband, I was also blessed with two stepchildren.
And in the interest of not being a grinch of a stepmom, I put up a tree and draped garland and white lights around the house. Christmas shopping is a whole new level.
And I turned to friends to get ideas for traditions we might incorporate into our family as well.
Tiffany Ginocchio, of Gardnerville, said her kids get new pajamas each Christmas Eve.
“After putting them on, we drive around and look at Christmas lights while munching on popcorn and sipping hot chocolate,” she said.
Julie Keller also gives her children new pajamas on Christmas Eve.
“We always go to a movie on Christmas Eve, then read the Christmas story from Luke while sitting by the Christmas tree before bed,” she said.
The Douglas County mom also keeps a record of gifts and resolutions.
“I have a book where I write down what we all get every year and then on the next page we write down our New Year’s resolutions for the following year,” she said. “It’s fun to look back even just over the last eight years. My mom kept this same book our whole lives and it’s super fun to see what presents I got over the years.”
Doreen Portch, of Dayton, makes a special breakfast on Christmas morning.
“Christmas morning tradition of pull apart bread and/or French toast casserole.”
Molly Reil, from Gabbs, is creating a new game out of gift giving this year.
“I’m not putting any name tags on the gifts,” she said. “I bought a different paper for each kid and then Christmas morning they will find a gift in their stocking wrapped in their special paper and if they are smart enough they’ll realize that all of their gifts are in that paper.”
Kori Bird, from Elko, found a way to extend the fun and anticipation of Christmas.
“I was always sad on Christmas night because all the excitement and anticipation were over, so we have the kids sleep in sleeping bags under the tree and talk about our favorite memories of that year and past years. (My hubby and I lay on the couches until the youngest is asleep and then we crawl into our own bed).”
When I look at all the imaginative and thoughtful things everyone does to keep the Christmas spirit alive, I think the most important part is being present and connecting with the ones you love.
Carson City’s Janet Baker summed it up.
“Enjoy every minute! Now the kids and grandkids have all grown up and we live quite a distance from them, so I miss Christmas with family all around. Cherish and enjoy each little moment.”
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.