jensenlawaz.com 480.632.7373 December 2017
The Traditions Make the Holiday Looking out the window on
“the best part was always catching up with the family.”
Christmas morning in Arizona, it’s hard not to sigh wistfully and remember the snow-blanketed winters of Wyoming back when I was little. But then, I think about the hassle that ice and subzero temperatures bring, and I snap out of it a little. That said, there’s some nostalgia when I think about those years. Back in the day, Christmas was a huge operation for my family. My mom’s seven brothers and sisters, along with all their kids, gathered together at my grandparents’ place on Christmas Eve. Sometimes it was over 60 people, just feasting on the most food you’d ever seen, playing games, and scrambling around spending time together. I remember, sometimes, the snowdrifts would reach all the way up to the roof, and we’d make our way up there and leap into these massive, cushy piles of powder. But of course, the best part was always catching up with the family. These days, our traditions are a little tamer, but they’re important to us nonetheless. Every Christmas Eve, the immediate family goes out for a nice dinner somewhere different every year. Then, we comb through the movie times and pick something good to go see together. The last couple years, it’s been the new “Star Wars” movies, and this year, it’s sure to be “Star Wars” once again. I’m not about to complain — I love the series. Then, we head over to my brother-in-law’s house and heat up some hot chocolate, maybe sing a few carols together, and read aloud a Christmas story or two. After we head home
in the evening, we always put on “The Polar Express,” a longstanding tradition, though it’s one that has started to wear thin on my boys as they’ve grown older. When I was little, Christmas morning involved a covert mission with my siblings and me as we snuck into the living room at 5 a.m. to see what Santa had left before scurrying to bed and pretending to be asleep. Though, later, my mom told us that she always knew when we were out there; she just loved listening to us try to be quiet. With my kids, it’s a different story. My wife has them totally trained in the procedure, and there’s absolutely no going downstairs to the tree without the pair of us. They come and knock on our door, and we head down together.
Then, it’s a pretty relaxing affair, as we slowly make our way through the presents and relax in the living room. Inevitably, the boys will pop on whatever latest video game system they’ve gotten, and their mother and I will just zonk out on the couch. Christmas, to me, hinges on these little rituals, the traditions that bring a family together. I’m excited to see how my sons carry on and tweak our traditions for themselves. For now, though, I’m content to see their faces as they hurry
down the stairs and see all the presents beneath the tree.
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