A lot of families choose to wake up in their own beds, in their own homes, on Christmas morning. And when my husband and I had kids of our own, I thought I'd be like that, too. I always assumed that we would spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together at home, creating our own family traditions and memories. But once my firstborn came along, I changed my mind completely. And every Christmas Eve since having our first child, we've spent it at my parents' house . . . and it couldn't make me happier.
The festive season all about spending time with loved ones and continuing beloved traditions you had from when you were a kid. For me, that means spending time with the family I grew up with in the house I grew up in. You see, all three of my brothers are single and my parents now seem to be aging by the minute. My father is 83 and my mother is a cancer survivor. I never know how many Christmases I have left with them. So, if I can give them some extra Christmas joy with my excited children running around, I'll gladly do it. Especially because it brings me extra joy, too.
I feel so blessed to be able to pass down a lot of the same family traditions from my childhood onto my own kids, but instead of doing that in our own home, I get to do it in one with their uncles and grandparents. Every year, we eat an early Christmas Eve dinner before my mum makes everyone sing festive songs (my kids add an extra decibel and octave, which makes everyone erupt into laughter) and open a few gifts from underneath the tree. My brothers and parents light up as they watch my kids open their presents, proving to me that nothing is sweeter than watching your own family gaze at your children with wonder in their eyes.
What's even more special is that my mum gets to, yet again, play the role of Santa. She loves getting the kids excited by leaving out milk and cookies and a special note for Santa. And when we're sure the kids are fast asleep, she and I carefully place the presents under the tree and excitedly fill the stockings. When we hear the pitter-patter of my two kids' feet in the morning, my mum is always the first one up to receive them. We then all tiptoe down the stairs to see what Santa brought. Christmas magic hangs in the air along with the smell of the cinnamon rolls my mum cooks in the oven.
As my kids tear through gifts, my brothers and parents take pictures and videos. Seeing my parents relive the magic of a childhood Christmas is the greatest give I can receive. I know that there will come a day when my children will have to celebrate Christmas in their own home, but for now, I can't imagine leaving my parents on Christmas Eve. I hope it's something we all will cherish forever.