It’s not Christmas until…

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Traditions can be interesting. For instance, we may want to begin a tradition, but it may not “catch on.” Traditions aren’t always planned and I would say that the best traditions are those that just happen and are so meaningful and so much fun that we want to do them again and again.

No family can make a tradition for another family. Each has its own. There may be similarities, such as getting a Christmas tree and decorating it. That’s a common tradition, but every family that has its own unique set of circumstances.

What about your family and home? If I made the statement, “It’s not Christmas until _____,” how would you fill in that blank?

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In my family as I was growing up, it wasn’t Christmas until we had trimmed or decorated our tree, but that’s not too unusual. As I mentioned, every family does that. Still it is different for each family and worthy of the definition of tradition.

In the old days, Christmas trees weren’t put up on Thanksgiving Day or the day after. Everybody was too full of turkey and dressing to move and, if they did, it was probably to go hunting.

I would say it was about two weeks before Christmas before we would get our tree and I can assure you that Daddy and Momma had endured “When are we going to get our Christmas tree?” for at least a week. It was not a tree that came from the attic and out of a box, but probably one that was cut from the farm. It wasn’t Christmas until we had decorated that tree and saw those sacred lights bubble and burn.

At our house, it wasn’t Christmas until the yards had been raked and cleaned of all the water oak and pecan tree leaves. I don’t know how he saw our yard from his sleigh and in the dark, but Santa wasn’t going to come to a trashy yard!

It wasn’t Christmas for us until we had begun to buy firecrackers at the local country store. We all heard that fireworks were against the law, but that didn’t stop us from inquiring, in a low voice and with a little bit of fear of Mr. Mobley, “You got any black cats or cherry bombs yet?”

It wasn’t Christmas at our house until we had hung the stockings from the mantel.

Three kids, three stockings always hung in descending order of birth. No stockings for Daddy and Momma. After all, what would Santa want to bring adults?

It wasn’t Christmas until we had gone to town on Christmas Eve. We went early and finding a parking place in Pelham was hard to do. It hustled and bustled and it is amazing to remember how our small towns all over the state used to be so busy during Christmas.

Keith, my brother, Kathy, my sister, and I would go to town and spend the afternoon at the “show.” That’s the movie house. I guess that gave our parents a little time to buy that last present or two. When they picked us up, we would head for home, but not before we had driven down Santa Claus Lane.

We were from the country and our dirt road had a few homes but none dressed up for Christmas like town homes. It wasn’t Christmas until we had seen how the town folk did Christmas.

Christmas could never be explained in the 600 words that occupy this space, but I wonder how you’ve answered the question, “It’s not Christmas until.”