Tradition probably helps dictate how you celebrate Christmas (if you celebrate Christmas). When you open presents, how you open the presents and activity after opening presents can all be unique to you and your family.
I have a few strong memories of Christmas time from when I was growing up. Watching a televised production of Menotti’s ‘Amahl and the Night Visitor’ is one of them. I know the music and the words by heart and can sing along to the entire opera. The story always makes me tearful. My own family likes to make fun of me when I listen and sing to the music, but I don’t care. It is one way I open up to my roots and childhood memories each holiday season.
Christmas Eve was spent with ‘the Greens’ for years and years. Our two families would gather, share a meal starting with Oyster Stew (which I grew to love), open gifts and share festive conversation. Today I am thinking about that tradition and how the repetition of those gatherings were so special in my life.
When I was a child, Christmas morning had a ritual. My brother and I could open our stocking gifts at the same time, but each present under the tree had to be opened in turn, one at a time, and the wrapping paper was carefully saved to be used another time. I know other families approach opening differently, ripping into the presents willy nilly and all at once. There is no right or wrong way.
When my husband and I married and had our first child, we began our own tradition of celebrating both Hanukah and Christmas. Our kids enjoyed opening gifts during each holiday. Now that our family has grown up and live on their own, new holiday traditions emerge. Christmas Day is often celebrated with a movie, Chinese carryout, or a simple home cooked meal.