My coworkers keep asking me what my Christmas traditions are. I don’t want to say that we don’t have any traditions because I guess that we do. We’ve celebrated Christmas with my dad’s side of the family as long as I’ve lived. My mom’s side of the family always has their celebration on a different day so they don’t have to compete with the other sides of the family. That’s the one constant that has never changed, but other “traditions” are affected by different circumstances in life.
The earliest tradition I can remember is coming home after our Christmas Eve service and opening one gift in my grandparents’ presence. But that tradition ended the year my grandma died. Three years after that, we left the church in which I was raised, changing the Christmas Eve service tradition as well. I know some people have managed to hold onto their traditions, but I wonder how the same things that entertained them when they were five can still capture their attention when they are twenty-five.
There’s only one “tradition” that will hold my heart for as long as it continues to last. I love the moment on Christmas Day when everyone is called into my grandma’s living room in order to open presents. It’s not the gifts that matter to me anymore, but the joyous anticipation that lights the eyes of my younger cousins when their gifts are set in front of them. It’s the way that all 30+ Snyders fill into one small area in representation of the tight-knit family we truly are. When I’m packed shoulder to shoulder like a sardine with the people who were born to be my best friends, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to be a Snyder. Though presents are nice, I don’t need anything but the smiling faces surrounding me and the baby on my lap. That’s what I find myself counting down for every Christmas.
Three more days. Only three more days…