Our LooHoo staff shares how they celebrate the holidays with family.
Our immediate family is quite small—just our son, Graham, my husband, Scott, and me. So for us, there are few family traditions during this time of the entire year.
Christmas morning we go for a walk before opening presents and stockings. It can be torturous for Graham since he’ll peek to see what’s filling his stocking.
Afterwards, we play with new toys and games then make brunch and have my in-laws over. It’s a quiet celebration, a time when we witness the magic of the season in our 10-year-old son’s eyes.
That waiting time in taking a walk reminds me of when I was a child myself. My two sisters and I had to wait to open stockings and presents until my dad was done with chores. And we had a large farm so it took awhile to get all the animals fed.
We grew up a noisy family of seven so Christmas was always an explosion of food, games and good-natured ribbing. There was no shortage of gifts as this was the time of year when my dad opened his pocketbook just enough to pile dozens of brightly packaged gifts under the tallest tree he could find. These fun times continued into adulthood and changed three years ago when we lost my mom to cancer.
When Christmas arrived that December, we decided we needed a new tradition.
So every year, the day after Santa visits, we pack up our leftovers and the presents remaining under the tree. We head to the mountains with my dad and my sister and her family and continue our Christmas celebration.
We make s’mores, watch movies, play games and do puzzles. We bet on football, go on walks, drink coffee. We talk about our mom and the time she undercooked a turkey, somehow blaming it on my brother-in-law. Our kids laugh and play and have dance parties. This year, if we’re lucky, we’ll have snow.
It’s a beautiful season that brings us closer together. Even though my mom is gone, every year we enjoy her most precious gift to us: family.
It's true...I do love the holiday season! Sure, there are high expectations to be merry and bright, bake cookies for school functions and fundraisers, attend gatherings and get our home decorated in enough time to truly enjoy the sparkle and glow.
However, it doesn't quite feel like the holidays without this special kind of hustle and bustle. Our holiday traditions have shifted through the years as our boys have gotten older. Now that they are both teens with end-of-year school project deadlines, weekend jobs and other commitments, some holiday traditions have gone wayside.
But I love creating the same seasonal spirit I did when they were little ones full of wonder. We listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We decorate that not-so-perfect tree, pulling out our favorite homemade ornaments the boys made so many years ago. We reminisce about Christmas’ past and take winter island walks to witness nature's own stunning displays. We fill stockings with oranges and warm sweet bread on the woodstove Christmas morning.
And, if I'm lucky, we enjoy a family reading of Truman Capote's “A Christmas Memory” and a viewing of “Scrooge” (with Albert Finney, of course!).
This year we have added a mixed breed rescue from Arkansas to our family. This will be Rubie's first Christmas…just in time to help us create new traditions and memories as we continue to grow together.