Santa has never visited the Cheek home on Christmas but, that sure doesn’t stop us from celebrating like he did. Christmas is a very special time for us where we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and we celebrate each other. I usually take two weeks off from work and make sure time is spent with my family. Whether traditional or spiritual, we try to do something related to Christmas on a daily basis. Of course by this time the Christmas tree is already up. Do you remember the day when you would put the tree up AFTER Thanksgiving? About a week prior to Christmas we start watching all the traditional Christmas movies…”White Christmas”…”It’s a Wonderful Life”…”Polar Express”…”Santa Clause (all 3 back to back)”, etc. The season is not complete unless we drive through wonderfully decorated neighborhoods in search of that “wow” factor of an over-the-top house that takes your breath away. Each year our treasure hunt produces the gem that satisfies our quest. However, last year, the hunt delivered far more than a gem…it was the whole treasure chest!! As we waited in a car line for more than 45 minutes it became apparent to me this was no ordinary decorated house. As we got closer we noticed a huge glow radiating at the end of the street that seemed to absorb all the rest of the neighborhood’s lights as if it was a black hole sucking all the electrical watts it could find. There was music pumping that started vibrating our car mirrors. As we pulled in front of the house our breath was taken away with lights so bright you could have worn sun glasses. Every nook and cranny of the house was covered with some form of light and color. There was a sign in the front yard giving instruction to tune our radio to the appropriate station. The lights moved to the beat of the music making it look like the house was dancing. Will we find something better on this year’s journey? I doubt it.
When the kids were very young we made a commitment to stay home during Christmas. The Cheek party of five was far more difficult than the Grandparents party of two when it came to traveling. On Christmas Eve, we attend a candle light service at our church to recognize Jesus’ birth. When we get home, we read the Christmas story in the bible to reinforce why Jesus came to earth. There are only 3 gifts under the small Christmas tree upstairs and there are no gifts under the main Christmas tree. Remember the day when you only had one Christmas tree?? Our kids get to open the three gifts that Aina and I would claim they got for each other. Because our children are nocturnal, getting them to bed has proven to be difficult each year. We have to get them to bed as early as possible because that is when Aina and I start wrapping the presents. I don’t think we have ever started wrapping before midnight. Once everything is wrapped, we put all the presents under the tree. Even though Santa didn’t come, the surprise of having nothing under the tree the night before and waking up to presents under the tree is something they look forward to in anticipation.
On Christmas morning, after about two hours of sleep, Aina starts filling the house with the scent of fresh brewed coffee. The tradition is our kids could not get out of bed until they heard the joyous sounds of Christmas music playing throughout the house. Once Aina and I have a bit of coffee to raise our tired eyes, we crank up the music…loudly. With cameras on, we capture the groggy faces coming down the stairs. Joy with smiles as wide as the amount we seem to spend each Christmas comes across their faces as they see the presents under the Christmas tree for the first time. The joy and excitement of giving is etched as special unique memories each and every Christmas as we open gifts. We top the day off by visiting Aina’s sister’s family in the evening and doing it all over again. Yes, Christmas is a wonderful established family tradition in the Cheek home. It truly is our most favorite time of the year.
I’m sure Christmas is a wonderful family tradition for you too. I would love to read about them so please post it as a comment.