I’m starting to write this post late in the morning on Friday. Ultimately, it won’t matter and you wouldn’t know because I’ll schedule it for 5:00am tomorrow as per usual. But, we had to deal with an annual tradition.

Around here, we celebrate Christmas. We’ve always celebrated it on various days and various places coming from large families that always have had to balance work and travel schedules.

Years ago, my parents started a tradition for my brother and me. The setting was me as a university student counting every penny from summer jobs to get me through the school year paying tuition, books, rent, and food. Unlike today’s huge expenses for students, it actually was mostly payable through summer jobs. I started saving in Grade 9. Even so, life was pretty restrictive and the extravagant things in life were just not there.

At Christmas, my parents had the requisite gifts of course, but there was always a special bag full of stuff that I would have elected not to buy because they were above and beyond the basic necessities. Things like good coffee, chocolates, candies, potato chips, gift cards to Swiss Chalet, etc. Mom had a special family name for this bundle of stuff. It was something that she carried on, even though I didn’t need them but she liked to think that she was starting a tradition.

When I married and we had children, her tradition continued. Selfishly, I can report that the contents were now more geared to the kids than me. Some required a lot of work like building a gingerbread house but they were always appreciated. As time moved on, certainly they were more appreciated by the kids and they would look forward to trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s place just for this package.

Now, our kids have moved out and they have their own kids. Their grandparents are not around to keep their tradition alive so my wife and I have done our best to make it continue. Now making healthier choices, we get the disapproving looks with some of the goodies that we put into these packages. Nobody actually complains and I suspect that most of the treats are enjoyed by everyone despite these looks. I do now understand the joy that my parents had by doing this.

What does that have to do with blogging? At the rise of the sun, usually Jaimie and I are out and about doing our thing. I was reminded that the store where we were going opens its doors at 8 and it’s a Friday so we need to get there to avoid the crowds. We did get there about 8:30 and did a quick walkthrough to gather stuff, making sure that we got three of everything since we have three kids and someone might be keeping score.

My marketing mind smiles at how some of the things that are available any time of the year are now packaged with a Christmas type of theme. I’m sure there’s a little premium for this sort of thing.

When we got back home, the stuff was stacked into three piles on the bed to make sure that everything was equal. The consensus was “mostly” so I’m sure that there will be another trip specifically to even things up.

The things that we do for our kids.

Do you have any traditions in your family that it’s fallen on you to maintain? Can you share them in the comments?


7 thoughts on “Traditions

  1. So much of this post resonates with me. I too find myself lamenting the marketing strategy of once special Christmas treats (Turtles, Orange Chocolate balls ~ the kind you had to hit on the table to separate the pieces and After Eight mints) now available throughout the year. It certainly diminishes the special feeling of going to my grandparents home on Christmas Eve knowing that the box of Turtles would be ceremoniously unwrapped and proudly displayed on the coffee table for all to enjoy (just one)!
    With 3 children, we still to this day, separate the piles of their stocking contents and make last minute trips to ensure equal distribution.
    On my husband’s side of the family (Dutch), his parents started the tradition of giving everyone a quarter of a wheel of Dutch Gouda cheese. With their passing, my brother in law and his wife have continued it.
    Great post!


    1. My goodness, Sue, you wakened more traditions for me. I absolutely remember all those treats – After Eights seemed so classy, Turtles just made me want to brush my teeth but they were sooooo good, and the Orange balls were awesome. I always felt like I wanted to reverse engineer them just to see how it works. That’s an awesome tradition your husband’s family had; growing up with a large collection of Dutch friends, this is the first I’d heard of it. What a neat concept. Thanks for sharing your story.


  2. My family always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve with my mom’s side. We had stockings to open (before dinner… I suspect to keep us kids busy and to stop us from constantly asking about gifts). After dinner we would open presents, one at a time in age order from youngest to oldest. My grandparents were always the last to finished owning because there were so many for them. This year will be the first in a few years we are able to gather on Christmas Eve due to schedules and of course, COVID. I panicked that I had lost the stocking because I am hosting but thankfully my sister has them! We only do stockings now for the adults and the kids get both stockings & gifts. However, the stockings are huge so it’s more like a bag of gifts! My parents will be staying with us over the holiday which is even more sweeter after last years virtual gathering. Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce.


    1. What great Christmas memories, Beth. I like the idea of opening gifts from youngest to oldest. Sometimes around here, there are multiple openings and you miss seeing things. Your talk about stockings got me thinking. When my wife and I started dating, my mom made her a stocking (all of ours are home made) and one year Mom thought that she lost it and so made her another. At some point, we found the original and now my wife has two stockings for Santa to fill under the tree! Thanks for sharing.


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