I wish I had a better memory for Christmases when I was younger [among other things]. I do remember some things, though, and had a conversation with my mom tonight to fill in some details.
We lived in southern New Jersey [way southern, not the New Joisey part] until I was about 12, and would usually go to my grandparents in Trumansburg, New York for Christmas. I remember enjoying the drive up to New York, seeing the snow and driving through the Pocono Mountains. Mom reminded me of the one year that we got stuck in the Poconos for about 3 hours, there was really bad ice on the roads.
I remember getting so excited on Christmas Eve because we were allowed to open one present. Talking with mom, we think that might have been in later years [or she might be mixing memories of her growing up with memories of me growing up]. She reminded me that typically we would have Christmas Eve family dinner, a tradition of baked potatoes with a mixture of cheeses. We also had bratzeli – paper-thin Swiss cookies. Mmm, I could eat so many of them. And of course, nutmeg logs. Grandma would play piano and we would sing Christmas carols, and we would open presents.
I remember going to the Christmas Eve service at my aunt and uncle's church where they were part of the bell-ringing choir. I'm pretty sure that was in the later years as well, because I think it was afterward that we would go back home to open the one present.
I remember there usually was a ton of snow to play in, and since it was New York, there were some great hills for sledding.
Nowadays, Christmas is a bit more low-key. Since both my grandparents have passed and we live in Indiana now, we don't really travel to have big family Christmases anymore. I miss it sometimes, but I still enjoy our Christmases, too. For many years now, my friends and I have had the tradition of a Christmas Eve Brunch at Bob Evans. I have really enjoyed sharing a holiday tradition with these friends.
I like having little traditions, or creating new ones [like the Christmas Eve Brunch]. I also like that I am doing a better job at journaling [sometimes blogging] happenings, so in 10 more years I can look back and have a better memory of what Christmases were like. :-]