It was a brisk morning so Alina and I decided to drive the elementary kids to school, rather than have them walk to the bus stop and then wait in the freezing cold until the bus came to pick them up. We were headed out to work anyway so it was on our way. A little neighbor girl joined us as we all piled into the mini-van. As we took the short drive to the school I spied a man walking his dog. This man had a long white beard and he was actually wearing a ‘Santa’ hat, (though he wasn’t a bit overweight…I think it was because of all that walking!).
“Look kids! It’s Santa Claus!”, I spoke playfully to the kids. “No it’s not!”, piped up the neighbor girl. And then there was some discussion as to whether Santa was real or not. Alina and I just listened to their banter without giving our opinions on the matter. It didn’t take very long before they all seemed to come to the conclusion that it was really ‘Daddy’. Then Vanessa, with all the wisdom of a five-year-old, looked up at the kids and said, “Santa Claus is a polygamist!”
We are excited this Christmas because a very pregnant Laura and her husband Taylor came in last night for the Holidays. Sam came up from Central Utah last night, and Caleb and Amanda will be here today done with school and work. Our Santa takes all the teenagers to a movie on Christmas Eve in the afternoon, and then we come back for family time. We have a big buffet and play games and visit. Dad reads “T’was the Night Before Christmas!” and every time he says the word “The” gifts are passed to the left with all kids in a circle. In the end whatever present they have is what they get. We then give out PJ’s, homemade when we have time, for an early present. All the kids get in them, (clever way for us to get them ready for bed!) and then we do name presents.
Name presents are where every one of the children picked a name out of a hat and have to spend $5 to $10 on a gift for that person. They get excited about giving their gift to the their name person on Christmas Eve. Dad then gets all the little ones together, (they like to sleep under the big kitchen table for some reason) and reads or makes up Christmas stories for them while we busy ourselves getting stocking ready.
It will be different with so many of our kids having moved out, we are looking forward to kicking back and visiting and enjoying each other. Share with us your Holiday traditions! We would like to know what many of you do for Christmas, or Hanukkah, or any other celebration. On Friday we will share a very special tradition that many Fundamentalist Mormons will relate to. Happy Holidays to all of you, this is truly a special time of the year for family!