Christmas Traditions

One of the things I remember growing up was that we got to open one gift on Christmas Eve. This was never a package that we got to pick ourselves. Rather, mom would pull a specified item from under the tree and hand them to my brother, sister and I. This was typically a small toy to give our overexcited minds some form of relief of the anticipation of the big day.

When Christmas day arrived, we were sidelined from storming the tree by way of waking up to our stockings on the end of our beds. This was mom and dad's way of buying another half hour of well needed sleep before the chaos that would ensue. The stockings typically contained little toys and / or treats, and while fun to open, were often just teases to ramp us up for the big event.

Finally let loose on the tree, gifts were distributed into individual piles and frantic tearing and clawing ensued. My sister was the only one of us that carefully opened any package, instituting a lifelong tradition of writing down every item she opened so that she could thank the appropriate person for it. My brother and I didn't have such forethought or class. We wanted in those packages as quickly as possible.

Despite my overall happiness that day, I recall many a disappointing moments for the holiday when after an hour of opening packages, it was done. Sure, we had plenty of new toys, but for what it was worth, the excitement for the day was technically over. This was something as I grew older I made sure to rectify. These days, I take my time opening gifts, staggering them out throughout the entire day. Opening a couple items and taking the time to enjoy them for a couple hours before moving on to opening something else. I've found this not only helps the entire day to feel like Christmas, but that I actually get more enjoyment from the gifts because I'm taking time to appreciate them, versus tossing them aside for the next mystery package.

Through all this, my personal traditions have stayed the same as when I was a kid. Christmas Eve we get to have one present, in the morning of Christmas day we start with our stockings, and from there, we move on to the gifts. We open the ones from friends and family in the late morning, and in the evening open the ones from each other. Though my girl and I don't have any children, we do have what appears to be an impatient little one who can't wait to dive into his presents.

He's no dummy. He knows there are a ton of toys and treats under there for him.

Keeping with that Christmas Eve tradition, I got a fun preemptive strike item. It was actually something I picked out for myself when visiting The Toy Exchange with George of G.I.Jigsaw on December 12th.

A fantastic, complete in the box vintage Nintendo Game Boy and loose Ninja Gaiden for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Okay, fine, it's two items, but I'm not complaining.

Well, time to go play!

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  1. I like the idea of pacing the presents. May have to try that tomorrow morning with my daughter...and me.

    1. It really does make it more enjoyable. We're going to open our stockings, call people for the day who need calling, open up gifts from friends and family, eat turkey breast sandwiches for lunch, watch Wonder Woman on HBOMAX and Soul on Disney+, then we'll have a nice prime rib dinner and open up our gifts to each other.

    2. So we paced our presents today. It worked great. My daughter was going bananas but it was fun to open some around 1. Funny thing is, we left three presents under the tree and basically forgot about them until 6pm. So we enjoyed the excitement throughout the day. Great idea.

    3. Good times! You wait all year for Christmas to come. No reason to blow through it in an hour.