Our Christmas tradition
Back in 2005 when I was in the US and still married, a dear friend – Auntie A, as my son calls her (back then she was a single mom) gifted my son a Christmas stocking. Handing over the stocking she said, ” From now on that’s where the card requesting Christmas presents from Santa needs to be placed. ”
Next year as well we (my ex-husband, son and myself) visited her and her family on Christmas Eve and we made sure we carried our son’s special Christmas stocking. Like last year, we spent the night at her place singing Christmas carols, prepping the Chicken for next day’s meal and sipping on hot chocolate and s ’mores . Her home smelt heavenly with the whiff of freshly baked cookies.
The kids put their cards for Santa in their respective stockings and place the milk & cookies for Santa under the Christmas tree before they went to bed.
As soon as they woke up on Christmas morning they rushed around the Christmas tree to see whether Santa Claus has got them their presents this year as well.
Oh! The joy of ripping open their presents and the shrieks and squeals of happiness. It definitely had to be the most pleasant sound on Christmas morning.
Fast forward to September 2007- I separated from my husband and returned to India with my son. And we would celebrate all the festivals with same fervour as before. Be it Holi, Diwali or Christmas.
In December 2007, we bought our own Christmas tree which was about the same height as my then about 3 year old. Our prelude to the celebrations would usually begin with the story about the birth of Jesus Christ. Almost each night of December until Christmas. On Christmas Eve, his Christmas stocking was neatly place next to the Christmas tree.
Slowly as the years progressed the focus shifted from the birth of Jesus Christ to how Santa Claus would come and gift children who have behaved well the whole year. And once he learnt to write, the list for Santa kept growing. But the fervour to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ was a big as planning his own birthday party.
Early December 2011, my divorce came through. That same year we had moved to our newly rented place, we had carried along our now 3 feet tall Christmas tree with us. That year on Christmas Eve, my son decided to invite his friends over for a milk and cookies party. It was such joy to see him enjoy with his new friends in our new home. His friends and he had a great time decorating our Christmas tree.
Next year, he wanted a snowy Christmas. Thanks to Disney movies for the idea.
He took charge of decorating the Christmas tree and creating the ornaments himself. That year our home was decorated with a lot of cotton and loads of paper cuttings. We had snowflakes of all shapes and size possible floating around in our home and not just the Christmas tree. Of course on Christmas Eve, the customary practice of putting the card for Santa in his Christmas stocking and keeping a glass of warm milk & a plate of cookies for Santa was done with great expectations. And surely Christmas mornings were filled with joyous squeals of ‘Yaaayyy’, ‘Thank you Santa’, I Love you Santa’!!
Until 2013, for my son it was all about hearing the story about the birth of Jesus Christ, sharing his request for presents with Santa and then in return Santa Claus getting him his favourite presents.
But something changed in 2014, it was no longer about asking Santa Claus for gifts or just decorating the Christmas tree. His list for Santa wasn’t ready yet. I was worried that my kid probably just grew out of our Christmas tradition. Yet, I went ahead and planned our Christmas shopping spree.
While we were doing our customary Christmas shopping my son requested that I buy few extra chocolates, bags of chips and elf caps. When I reasoned why, in a matter of fact manner he stated that he wants to share it with the bunch of street kids whom he saw outside the mall.
My heart smiled as I reminisced the thought, “Christmas is the spirit of giving, without a thought for getting.”
That year my son had learnt the true spirit of Christmas on his own!