Thursday, December 3, 2015

December Traditions and Creating Sweet Memories

Decking the halls, 2015 (8-years-old)
"You know, Santa's elves are on the roof of this place. And when he's finished taking pictures with kids today, he's gonna go back to the North Pole."

This was last year when Aiden was 7-years-old and we went to take pictures with Santa.

ABC Carpet & Home, 2014 (7-years-old)
This year, his theory on Santa is slightly different. "You know, it's not the real Santa who's taking all the pictures with kids right? It's just a guy dressed in a Santa costume. But we have to give him our Christmas list so he can go to the North Pole and give our list to the real Santa."

Well. When you put it like that...

Kings Plaza, 2009 (2-years-old)
I remember all the way back to Aiden's first December and his first Christmas season. I remember not really knowing what to do with him or how to make the season special for him. I remember wishing that I had holiday traditions to piggyback off of from my own childhood, but I kept coming up short. The only Christmas "tradition" that I had as a child was to stay up until midnight to open presents. And that's about it.

I remember listening to so many of my mommy friends talk about Christmas and holiday traditions from their childhood that they wanted to pass on to their children. And I remember that inadequate feeling of coming up short. I had nothing to share and no tradition to pass on.

Kings Plaza, 2010 (3-years-old... what a difference a year makes!)
But eventually, I started to plan things and do things and go places with Aiden during the holiday season. And the next year, I'd plan and do and go places with him. Again. And, before I knew it, we'd have a solid list of things to do during this festive season.

We deck the halls by decorating the Christmas tree, while jamming out to our favorite R&B holiday station on Pandora.

We watch Home Alone and Home Alone: Lost in New York. Several times. Because those are the classics and the only ones worth watching.

We go see Alvin Ailey and NY City Center because the performers were born to dance and they inspire me to move, shake, and test boundaries. (I hope one day they inspire Aiden too.)

Macy's SantaLand, 2011 (4-years-old)
Macy's SantaLand, 2012 (5-years-old)
We go see the Nutcracker. Because, 'tis the season.

We decorate ginger bread houses. And eat lots of frosting and candy in the process.

We take pictures with Santa. Once, twice, sometimes thrice throughout the holiday season.

We make holiday cards to send out to friends and loved ones.

ABC Carpet & Home, 2013 (6-years-old)
Nutcracker, 2013
We go ice skating, because: winter wonderland.

We go see the tree at Rock Center. (I mean, we have to if we live in NYC, right?)

We play tourist for an afternoon, walk along 5th Avenue to see the holiday displays in stores, and pick a favorite.

Macy's SantaLand, 2013
Christmas Eve, 2013 (#BlessedDuo)
We count down the days until Christmas because build-up and anticipation is part of what makes it so much fun and so exciting.

We wear new pajamas on Christmas Eve and Aiden takes a bubble bath. Then we bake and decorate cookies for Santa. Then we leave him a sweet note, something to the tune of "I hope you like your cookies..."

We discuss that this season is not just about getting presents, but giving and loving and thanking God for all that we have. And celebrating the birth of Christ.

On Christmas morning, we wake up to open presents, from Santa and from mommy. After presents and pictures and excitement, we make pancakes and enjoy breakfast together.

Rock Center, 2014
Alvin Ailey, 2014
And, in recent years, we've been traveling after Christmas until the New Year. Because I love the idea of giving Aiden the gift of experiences over things. Any day. Everyday.

Just us. And Chicago, 2014
As we were decorating this year's Christmas tree, Aiden reminded me of all the things we do during the holiday season. To my surprise, he listed almost everything that we've been doing for the past few years. He's old enough to understand that we do these things every year, that it's a tradition. It's shaping his memories about the holiday season.

So far, they've been happy memories. Sweet memories. Warm memories. Fuzzy, feel-good memories.

They make him smile when he thinks of them.

And that alone is enough to make my heart smile.

1 comment:

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