Christmas is definitely different now from my time as a child and when Bill and I had our children at home, even from when our adult children came to visit with their children. As the grandchildren grew in number and age, Bill told our children that they needed to form traditions of their own and not have to spend the holidays with us every year. We loved having them visit, but their own family time was important. That changed over the years, for some came for a day or even every other year, alternating with Thanksgiving. For a while we exchanged gifts. Then because we lived away from our kids and grandkids, not knowing their sizes and interests, we would send money. Now that our grandkids are all adults and we have a dozen great-grandkids, the checks go only to the greats. They all seem to understand.
Some of our traditions have lasted with the change of times spent together. We still like to sing Christmas carols around the piano, drink eggnog (out of pink Hebron glasses) and eat cookies. Because our churches have added Christmas Eve services, that has changed our timing. We still like the habit of making omelets on Christmas morning. I make Christmas cards, recycling old cards. And as to gift-giving, Bill and I would agree not to buy for each other, but he or I would break that promise. I remember one Christmas morning Bill and I sat on our front porch, sang a carol or two, read the Christmas story from the Bible, and prayed. Back in the house we took a photo in front of our decorated tree (“nearly natural Ficus tree”).
Last year we had our first Christmas in Indianapolis with the Gearhart family. Their traditions included filled stocking hung by the fireplace, exchanging gifts, taking turns opening those gifts, and having a delicious breakfast together. The Gearhart boys were home last year with their wives. Chrissa and Léo visited his family in Brazil. This year the boys spend Christmas with their wives’ families. We will have our celebration Saturday evening, opening gifts and eating appetizers and sweets. Becky is the gift-giver extraordinaire. She knows whose names we drew, supplies gift ideas, and even orders gifts for us to wrap. We will attend the family-style Christmas Eve service at the church. Becky & Paul, Chrissa & Léo will travel to Illinois to be with Paul’s mother for Christmas Day. Bill and I are “home alone,” but we like each other enough to enjoy that time together.