I grew up in a preacher’s home. One might think this made for Norman Rockwell type scenes of family dinners and evenings before the fireplace. That one would be wrong. Christmas and Easter are the two busiest seasons for a minister and it seems the holidays were always chock full of activities, from Christmas pagents to candlelight cantatas, to the annual ladies’ breakfast to coordinating caroling for shut-ins. There’s plenty of work to go around. And of course all the planning and practice that goes into making those events a success.
Another holiday tradition is playing a wicked game of Monopoly. For some reason we only ever play this game on Christmas, probably because it takes us that long to recover each year. It is vicious. Beware anyone trying to help you out by trading you a property. Harold Hill has nothing on my dad when it comes to selling stuff. And the high stakes wheeling and dealing can go on for hours.
We always got new pajamas for Christmas and that was the one present we could open on Christmas Eve. When the big morning arrived we were ready for photo opportunities. My parents were smart too, we had to wait to open presents until everyone was awake, but they let us dig into our stockings as soon as we got up. This ensured them a few more minutes of precious sleep.
There were a few years that were pretty tough financially. One year my mom and dad made us stick ponies. (As you can see if you can read her tag, mine was named Suzie Q. And had a green calico face with a yellow mane. And white reins made of yarn.)
Another year, my dad used scrap wood to make my sister and I closets for our Barbies. While mom sewed them up new outfits. Another year we received homemade dolls. Those toys were all just as loved and played with as any of our store bought things.
Looking back I find our Christmases were a blend of traditions and innovation. But they were all ours. I still love celebrating Christmas with my family. And this year I’m determined to win the Monopoly game.
Does your family have any untraditional traditions? Did you ever get any homemade gifts as a kid.
Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, Lisa Karon Richardson’s early books were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now that she’s (mostly) all grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure and excitement in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Her first novella, Impressed by Love, part of the Colonial Courtships collection, is coming in October, 2012.