Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year for as long as I can remember. As I’m writing this, I’ve been trying to put my finger on exactly why I love it so much, but the only thing that comes to mind is me jumping around like Buddy the Elf yelling “SANTAAAAAA!”
My parents and grandmothers have always made Christmas such a fun, exciting, magical time for our family. From the hand-built decorations for our yard that my mom designed and my dad made, to the seemingly endless supply of Christmas cookies, it’s easy to see why I developed my love for this season. The family traditions we’ve developed over the years are part of what makes Christmas so fun! So, I thought I’d bring you a little look at what Christmas looks like for the Summerlin clan.
If you ask one of my grandmothers (Memama, I’m looking at you!), she’d tell you that the perfect time to start Christmas shopping is December 26th. That’s part of the reason we’ve given her the name Memama Claus. She spends hours on end wrapping every present so immaculately- giant, fluffy bows, big decorated boxes, even bags that look like they came from Santa himself. I was always amazed at how beautiful her wrapping was. And over the last few years, I think my mom and I have developed this unspoken challenge of whose wrapping will be the most extra (she’s definitely been winning the last few years). The packages have become so gorgeous, it’s hard to destroy all the hard work to open them!
For weeks leading up to Christmas, my great-grandmother spent hours in the kitchen making Christmas cookies. She had a buffet in the dining room right next to the Christmas tree. The buffet was covered with glass containers full of our family’s favorites. Sand tarts, divinity, the list goes on and on. I think one of my family’s favorite traditions was standing around the cookie jars eating one after another until it was all gone!! I think it’s safe to say this is where my sweet tooth was born. (If you’re looking for some Christmas cookie recipes of your own, make sure you go check out this blog post!)
In the days leading up to Christmas, my grandmother would come in from Tallahassee- Christmas flamingos in hand and her pink sequin Santa hat on. Her brother and my aunt and cousin would fly in from New Mexico for their yearly voyage down south. My great-grandmother’s face would just light up as soon as everyone got to her house!
One of our biggest Christmas traditions is going to Memama Claus’s house for Christmas Eve. We eat dinner (so. much. food.), open presents, and laugh until we cry. There are even appearances from a singing, dancing Christmas tree hat that assists in my grandmother putting on a show.
When my sister and I were little, we’d be riding home from Memama’s house and every star we saw that looked just a liiiiittle brighter than the rest- we’d point and yell “IT’S SANTA!!”
Just like almost every kid, my sister and I were quite the early risers on Christmas Day. So much so that I’m pretty sure our parents had to give us a time that was acceptable to wake them up. So what would we do instead? Sneak around the house and peak out the windows to see if we could figure out what Santa brought us, but try not to get caught. We’d open our presents and then it was time to head to my great-grandmother’s house!
Every year, my sister and I were shocked when we got there. Not only did Santa fill our stocking at our house, but he also somehow found my grandmother’s house too! I remember always asking my mom how Santa could possibly know that we’d be there on Christmas Day too!
Although my great-grandmother isn’t here to be with us on Christmas, there are still a few Christmas traditions we religiously follow because of her. Every Christmas morning, we make our traditional breakfast. Toasted hot dog buns with bacon and cheese. We never make it any other day. It’s nothing fancy, but we all crowd around the oven waiting ever so impatiently for them to be done. (And they’re usually gone before we can put the next batch in!)
The other tradition we keep alive is that on Christmas Day, we open presents in rounds. Everyone there gets one present and we open it together. My grandmother always wanted to make sure she could see what everybody got. As a kid, it killllllled me to open everything so slowly. I wanted to tear into all. the. things!!!! Now, it’s not so bad. Plus, it lets us enjoy more family time!