December traditions have changed over the course of my lifetime, but each and everyone has created a wealth of wonderful memories. One of the greatest gifts I have ever received is that every Christmas has been safe, fun, exciting, rich with tradition and abundance, plus I have always been surrounded by people I love.
For many years, Christmas Eve was the best day of the Holiday festivities. Last minute baking left the kitchen warm and aromatic. Mom would lay out a feast on the table for us to nosh on, and we "pieced" our way through the evening of joy. Freshly baked breads, cakes, cookies, and candies are among my favorite childhood memories.
Every year mom made each one of u (4 girls!) a new flannel nightgown, which we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve. Mine was usually pink or blue, with ruffled yoke and hem. How I loved the first nights wearings of that fresh, crisp gown, which was well worn by the next Christmas.
We'd listen to Christmas songs, or we'd gather around the piano and sing our own carols, always waiting and listening for the sounds of Santa. Later in the evening we'd watch the news on our old black and white TV as the announcer tracked Santa's progress from the North Pole. We went to bed when he warned children the needed to be asleep or Santa might not stop!
I'm thinking of the years there were 5 of us kids, a house full of noise, laughter, laundry, lights, gifts for the neighbors and baked goods abounding, the piles of packages under the tree, and the general chaos of life--that is what I think of when asked what Christmas means to me. Many traditions have changed through the years, and I can't think of one year that Christmas wasn't full of magic and joy. Riches beyond words, that's the joy of Christmas tradition.