What is your favorite holiday and why? Mine has always been Christmas! Why, because I’ve always loved the merriment and feeling of giving during the season. Having a decorated tree with sparkly lights in the house for a month or so is such a joyous sight to see everyday! Growing up in Chicago, a “white” christmas was always nice and “snow days” from school were even better!
Being the youngest of 4 children to parents that immigrated from Asia to the United States, I was not raised with the magical thoughts of Santa, and it didn’t bother me. My sibling and I each got one present from our parents and that was special enough. Sure, I watched “Frosty The Snowman”, “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town” as a kid, but they were just shows to me and my siblings. Not believing in Santa did not affect “Christmas” being my favorite holiday since I was a kid!
As an adult, my ritual is to put up the Christmas tree and holiday decor the weekend right after Thanksgiving. Listening to holiday music and decorating always makes me happy and this is the case for my amazing wife and older daughter, Julia, as well (the 1-year-old, Stella, is a bit small, but gets involved in everything)! When Julia was 2 1/2 we bought a small two foot tree for her to decorate and call her own. She loves having her own tree…now we have to get a second one for next year when Stella will be two years-old!
So, now, as a parent of a 4 1/2-year old and a 1 year-old, the Christmas holiday remains my favorite and I love to see the spark in Julia’s eyes when we talk about Santa and when we bring her to see him.
The whole family loves sitting and admiring our tree when it’s all decorated and lighten up and we enjoy driving at night to see other homes & yards all decorated.
Christmas to me has never been about a lot of presents, but the spirit of family, friendship, good company & food, happiness and the upcoming closure of one year to the start of another! This is what I want my two daughters to grow up with – it’s not about the amount of gifts under the tree, but celebrating with family and friends and wishing each other well. It seems to be working as this morning on the way to school, Julia told me her Christmas wish is “that everyone is healthy and gets a good present.”
Here’s some of my family’s holiday activities. What does your family do?
- Decorate the Christmas tree & house the weekend right after Thanksgiving.
- Volunteer at church or school so our girls can see Mom or Dad helping out.
- Go to Hallmark and let the girls each choose their own ornament for the year.
- Make/decorate a gingerbread house with Julia (pre-baked kit rules) – next year Stella will also be involved.
- Make and decorate Christmas cookies.
- Let Julia have some involvement in selecting gifts for her teachers, family & friends (i.e. which gift card image for which person, what color sweater, which gift bag or wrap to use, etc)
- Have Julia make her own holiday card for some family, friends and her teachers and we include it with the family photo card.
- Watching holiday specials as a family with popcorn or hot chocolate.
- Opening gifts Christmas morning with the video recorder on its tripod.