Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Letting it Melt in My Mouth

I just realized last night that Christmas as we celebrate it now is a tradition whose days are numbered. I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me before. In fact, we are already on borrowed time, since our children are 25, 23, 19 and nearly 17. They are all still living at home for various reasons, so our family style and structure has changed very little as of yet, and in many ways I consider myself fortunate, even while sometimes worrying that we are out of step with society's expectations. After all, most other young people aged 25, 23 and 19 are out of the house and on their own already.

So we still celebrate Christmas like we always have, since the kids were very young, and it looks like this:

On Christmas Eve, at bedtime, we set the table with our nicest stuff-- tablecloth, good dishes. Each person sets out their plate and covers it with a handkerchief. This is a handed-down tradition from Hubby's family, and used to be very common in Mennonite homes many years ago, except in those days, the hanky was put on later by the parents and was brand-new for the occasion.

Then the kids get a clean sock and tape it to the back of their chair, which is a little twist I added as a nod to my own family traditions. My grandpa always filled stockings for us.

After the kids are in bed, Hubby and I put their gifts on their plates, covered by the hanky. We fill the socks with nuts (peanuts, and in later years, pistachios), a candy bar, a tangerine, some little something (this year-- toothbrushes, and combs, and hair things), and any other little candies or whatnot that might be fun.

In the morning, we sit around the table and take turns, oldest to youngest, to uncover our plates and empty the socks, and see what everyone got.

Then it's time for Christmas breakfast, which has always been either Life cereal or Golden Grahams, both normally out of our budget, therefore special.

As the kids got older and began buying gifts for each other, we added a round of gift-opening sitting on the couch by the woodstove.

Last night I realized that this might possibly be the last Christmas we are all here to put out plates, because who knows what can happen in a year? And once the kids start moving out, the tradition will have to change in some way. Not that that will be bad, just-- different.

So today I am savoring the day, like a piece of Dove chocolate that you let melt on your tongue instead of biting it.


Sniz said...

wow, your Christmas traditions are right in line> It's cool that the kids have always done that and I know it's odd to think about there being a smaller number home next year.

carrie said...

aww...I can't imagine the days being numbered...but I suppose, you are right...Glad your kids are still enjoying tradition, and it is always best to let chocolate melt ;)

Ornery's Wife said...

I always let the chocolate melt. Mmm. Back in a bit, I think I hear some chocolate calling my name...