|Me beneath our Christmas tree|
It happens every year and most years I lose. Maybe this year will be different, but somehow I doubt it.
Each year seems to be about the same. We pull up to my parent’s home, quickly jump out of the car and make our way up the walk. My heart is pounding and I am ready. Has my mother been watching out the window? Is she perched at the door, her hand on the knob, ready to jerk it open and beat me at the game? If it is anything like past years, she is waiting, but I always think maybe this year will be different and I will be able to yell it out first.
And then it happens, with one swift motion, my mother yanks open the door while yelling “Christmas Gift.” Once again, she’s won. That too seems to be tradition.
I had to smile when I did a Google search to see if I could find anything about the origins of this tradition. The point is to yell Christmas gift first and the idea is you then get a gift from the other person. My family has done it as long as I can remember and my mother told me hers did it when she was growing up. But Googling it, I discovered our family isn’t alone, in fact I found a discussion about that exact tradition here: Christmas Eve Gift and an article about it here: Dealing With a Peculiar Family Tradition (see article #8). I learned we certainly aren’t the only ones that have that tradition and I discovered that by far the majority had southern roots which made perfect sense since both of my parents have a set of southern grandparents. It makes me wonder about some of our other traditions.
Many traditions morph and evolve over the years as families join and times change, but thankfully many traditions are preserved and passed down, generation after generation. Sometimes the reason for the tradition may change or is lost, but even still, those traditions can provide continuity and stability to the many generations who share it. So while my mom may seem to win “Christmas Gift” most every year, in reality, continuing and participating in that family tradition makes us all winners.
Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved