What makes Christmas? I was thinking about that the other day. We don't have a lot of serious strong traditions in our family. Some years we put up a tree, and decorate it. A few years, we just put up a little 2 ft pre-lit tree up, and left it at that. We usually put a wreath on the door. We go to my parent's house for Christmas Eve, where we have a large Italian seafood dinner, and open gifts with my family. Christmas morning, we wake up fairly early, make cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate, and open our gifts to each other, and see whats in our stockings. Then we head to my mother in law's house for Christmas with my husband's family. We open gifts, take a walk if the weather allows, and then have a nice Christmas dinner.
We used to assemble a gingerbread house every Christmas, when our son was little, but he has outgrown the practice. He used to leave milk, cookies, and a note for Santa out on Christmas Eve. I would drink the milk, eat most of the cookies, always leaving one with a big bite out of it. This too has been outgrown.
We have some favorite activities. We go see the lights on 34th Street in Hampden. It always makes us smile. We try to go out to Largo, to see the Festival of Lights in the park. Joyous! We take our son Christmas shopping. Up until recently, this was a trip to the dollar store, armed with a long list and his allowance money, supplemented by a few dollars from me. This year he has a Visa debit card, and an itching to go to the mall.
I am not sure what part of this is the essential part. It changes as we grow older, but somehow stays the same. I think maybe it's just one of those things you have to enjoy as it happens, and not try to quantify.