When I think of Christmas pasts there were some traditions in place for a number of years that have not continued. Changing times have resulted in some changes.
When I was young, we would open our Christmas gifts from Santa before breakfast. Then it would be time for breakfast. I don't recall any special food being served. Breakfast would be cleaned up. We'd get dressed and then it was time for opening the gifts under the tree, unless it was Sunday morning it was off to church.
The one tradition that has continued is how we open Christmas gifts. Although, it changed slightly over the years.
When I was younger, our family custom was one person to act as "Santa". This was usually my dad. He would dig under the tree to pass a gift to each person as it came their turn. Only one person opened a gift at a time. Everyone would ooh and ah! It didn't matter whether it was a pair of socks or a new toy or book. The giver would be thanked if they were present. My dad's big gift for my mom would always be given last. Often, it would placed somewhere other than under the tree. Someone would grab a camera to capture mom's expression when she opened her gift.
After all the gifts were opened, each person was assigned a spot to display their gifts. A list was made of what a person received. This helped when you did your thank you letters.
After my brother got married, we adopted his wife's family's tradition of passing out the gifts to each person at the start. Still, only one person could open a gift at a time. If it was your turn and your pile was getting a little short, you might pass until it came your turn again.
I enjoy taking my time to open the gifts and to see what each person received. I do not like to be rushed.
I think the idea of taking time opening gifts goes back to when our parents received few gifts, so it paid to take your time as it was soon over. It gave you a chance to appreciate what you received and to see what others received.
When we were teenagers and young adults, for several Christmases we went to Florida for a holiday. We would open gifts often after work (post 10 p.m.) a few days before. It didn't have the same feeling.
Now Christmas morning is different. Depending on the plans for the day, the morning is quiet usually spent watching Christmas programs on TV and watching the Christmas message from the Queen.
The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”
© 2013 Janet Iles