Jamie tried to recreate another family tradition recently, which showed that sometimes a memory is best left a memory. She took Geoff to see the Christmas Ice Caverns at the Fairfield Garden Center, which you all enjoyed visiting each year. For Jamie, it was a disappointment. Was it the fact that the Smurfs are gone, or that the displays were just more magical when you were six? Or could it be that now, a three dollar fee is charged, which made the memory more off putting? Maybe it was a combination of all. I had a similar feeling when I returned to the Gingerbread Castle as a young adult and was disappointed to discover that not only was I not frightened, but Hansel and Gretel were so young.
I pulled out the very thoughtful video you made for Dad’s fiftieth birthday because I remembered it included clips from several Christmases. I learned that you originally set out your cookies for Santa to the sounds of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Those were the days when Kelly carried the milk, Jamie had the plate of cookies, and poor Casey was stuck with the napkin.
It wasn’t until later that we got more sophisticated and changed the music to “March of the Toy Soldiers” from the Nutcracker. Daddy has most, if not all, of your grand entrances from the kitchen into the living room as well as the video of the three of you bounding down the stairs on Christmas morning. The funny thing when watching Christmas morning through the years was that the enthusiasm began to decline as you grew older and clearly wanted to sleep later, particularly Kelly.
You sold Christmas wrapping paper in elementary school, an expensive and kind of annoying fundraiser. I always purchased three rolls, and each of you chose your own pattern to leave for Santa. That way you could look under the tree and know which packages were yours without the need for tags. I wrapped all your presents weeks before, always leaving just enough on the roll to make it appear that it was untouched and ready for Santa.
My proudest year, as you must recall, was when it snowed, and I decided to go outside to make sleigh and reindeer tracks in the driveway. You must admit that it was quite authentic!
Christmas morning was always Dunkin Donuts, which Dad got on Christmas Eve. Sometime during Christmas Day, my Noel ceramic candle holders would get rearranged at least twice.
Now you are all grown up, and I wonder if you will continue any traditions from our Christmases, adopt any from that of your spouses, or create those of your own? Do you hate the new tradition Dad and I started several years ago: Christmas Day movies followed by Chinese take-out or eat-in? I have lost count of how many changes have occurred through the years. I guess you just can’t stop change.