Holiday traditions obviously mean a lot to me this year, because it’s the first that my family includes someone that may actually look forward to it with glee.
Me? I like the season, for sure — the carols, the lights, the good cheer…
But Christmas itself has been something that comes and goes without a lot of excitement, because when you’re in your 30s and you live in Florida, the day is really just another opportunity to sit by the pool. (Seriously…I have spent a couple of Christmases past sitting with my feet in the water.)
However, as a kid, things sure were different.
When I was a wee one, the day always followed the same schedule:
- my brother and I would wake up, run downstairs and gaze at the gifts (my parents usually left the tree lights on so when we saw the presents, they were all lit up)
- we would look — not touch! — and start reporting on the counts and sizes (Andy, you got a big blue one and a small striped one!)
- we would dance around waiting and waiting and waiting for our parents to get up
- when they didn’t get up, we’d run upstairs and wake them, at which time we were notified how long we had to wait (I think 6am was the earliest they’d start the day, but my mom will weigh in and correct me)
- once they did come downstairs, we’d all get to open our stockings and then…
My blessed mother insisted that before we opened a single present, we all sat down and had breakfast. It was a special and indulgent meal, no doubt — coffee, orange juice, coffee cake and other baked goods — but when all we wanted to do was tear apart the wrapping paper, each bite seemed to take forever.
In hindsight, I think that was how my parents found their own joy and glee…stretching out the anticipation, building up the excitement. I remember scarfing down my meal and running back to my stocking to investigate what I’d gotten while waiting for everyone to finally finish their food.
It was never anything really fun — we always got toothbrushes, maybe some new socks, a pack of gum — especially when you consider that Santa stuffed the bottom of the stockings with oranges and nuts. Cheater!
While my brother and I played with the stockings, my parents settled in on the couches with cups of coffee and patience before finally telling us to go ahead and open our gifts. Then we went around in a circle, with each person opening one gift. Everyone else ooohed and ahhhed and showed off what they’d gotten.
There is so much that I remember, and so much that I want to pass down (my poor daughter will be as exasperated as I was!). The stockings first rule. Breakfast for all, with coffee and juice and sugary treats that are normally off-limits. Individual gift opening. Carols on the radio.
This year, I’m planning on bringing a little bit of New England here to Florida (man, I miss seeing snow at Christmas!) thanks to Dunkin’ Donuts. Their seasonal coffee is now available at grocery stores which is awwwww-some because unlike Boston, where DDs are on every block, there are only a few Dunkin’ Donuts stores in my ‘hood. I’m pretty excited about two flavors in particular — Pumpkin Spice and Gingerbread Cookie. I’ll probably be stocking up and sticking some extras in the freezer because the seasonal flavors won’t be around for long. ‘Tis the season, for sure.
Thank you to Dunkin’ Donuts® packaged coffee at grocery for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.