Christmas Traditions are super important to me and your mom. We have very different ones, but we also have similar ones. We both were raised with some idea of Santa Clause. I don't remember when I stopped believing. We both were involved in church, me more in the acting department I think. Though I never was more than a shepherd -- I rocked my dads red robe. I remember selecting the tree, we always had a real one. Sometimes Tata would drive us all to a nearby area where we would hike for a few minutes before selecting a lovely live Spruce tree to cut down. Knowing your Tata I am not sure if we paid for it or got it from the Sikes (friends in Washoe Valley). The trees always smelled nice and we would let them rest inside a night to let them fill out and recover from their ordeal. Our tree decorations consisted of mostly homemade decorations. None of us were close to the artsy talent of you three, but we placed the paper cutouts on the tree with pride. Garland and lights followed inevitably, sometimes we would go wild and include tinsel! I didn't know at the time of the escaping from jail possibilities it provides.
For me, we didn't have much growing up. We were relatively poor, dad being in ministry for the majority of my life. This didn't mean anything less for Christmas, it still held a magical feeling to it. I looked forward to it above every other day of the year including my birthday and national donut day (a close 3rd). I would wake up early for days prior to Christmas and just sit under the tree staring into it. I think I was hoping to hurry Christmas along.
Christmases at my grandparents added another element to them. It meant no snow, Arizona is like that. It also meant that we would get an extra Christmas with both grandparents being there, Christmas eve with the Orozco's and Christmas day with the Hodges. The Hodges had a great house, one my dad had grown up in partly so it had a lot of Tata's old belongings stored in the closets. And they had those cool bubble lights on the tree. I loved those.
The Hodges Christmas and my own family Christmas centered around the birth of Christ. I know it gets lost in the paper and gifts and lights, but it really is the single most important moment in History. Don't let it get lost in your celebration. Receiving gifts for Christmas is a reminder of God's Gift to the world, His Son, perfect. We as man have done nothing in the history of time to ever deserve this perfect gift and nothing we give each other will ever come close to being similar in scope to it, but in God's grace we were given God's son. This gift gives us life on a daily basis, not just at Christmas time. Our challenge is to Celebrate Christmas in our hearts every day, remembering He came in a manger for our sins because He loves us!
I love Christmas and spending it with you makes it even more Special for me.