Christmas traditions growing up was nothing like how we celebrate them today. Why? Because I grew up in a Jamaican household.
When I tell people that my siblings and I didn’t write letters to Santa, hang Christmas stockings, or open up a ton of presents on Christmas morning, they look at me with sad eyes.
For some reason some people think I missed out on a great childhood, when in reality that’s just our culture. I don’t feel like my parents deprived me of anything. They just followed Christmas traditions passed down from their parents.
Christmas was all about attending church and spending the day with family. Food was also big part of the holiday, but presents weren’t as popular.
I probably would have continued those holiday traditions had I married a Jamaican. But when I met and married my American husband, I knew that we had to find a way to compromise. That said, there were quite a few Christmas traditions I thought I’d never celebrate. But, I’m glad we do now.
5 Christmas Traditions I Thought I’d Never Celebrate
Elf on the shelf
I thought that the Elf on the shelf was just another gimmick to add to the commercialization of Christmas. I couldn’t fathom the idea of having the creepy doll in our house. Plus, I didn’t like the idea of using it to bribe our kids into behaving themselves.
But then I had an about face, and realized how much the elf worked. Our kids have been on their best behavior since our elf, Michael, came to town. They love waking up each morning to see where he’s hiding.
Baking cookies for Santa
Adults know the truth about Santa. What’s the point of baking him cookies? Besides, we’ve had enough junk food over the holidays. Santa cookies just adds to the growing tire around my waistline.
But then I see look on our children’s faces and I give in. It’s a tradition they look forward to each year.
Taking pictures with Santa
I never took photos with Santa. For the record, Santa wasn’t popular in our household growing up either. My brothers and sister knew the real deal about Saint Nick, and we may have ruined it for some kids growing up.
But, I’ve decided to take one for the team. Our kids sit down with Santa for Christmas photos, although there were times our son refused.
Hanging Christmas stockings
I always thought you needed a fireplace in order to hang Christmas stocking. But, I later learned that you can hang stockings the night before Christmas just about anywhere. I love that all the small gifts are neatly placed inside for an added surprise when they wake up on Christmas morning.
Buying a lot of gifts
My husband was shocked when I told him that we each received one present from both parents. Like I said, Christmas was all about church, family, and food. Gifts were secondary.
So when he came home one day with enough presents for each kid in our neighborhood, I almost had a heart attack! He explained that he opened up a lot of gifts as a child, and want the same for his children. How could I argue with that?
When it comes to holiday traditions, I do realize that it’s important to find a balance. I’ll admit that I had some reservations in the past. I didn’t want our children to become spoiled or feel entitled.
That said, we hope that teaching them about the true meaning of Christmas and how it’s more important to give than to receive, will ensure that they pass on those same values to their kids one day.