December 20, 2017
As a child, I remember, that while Christmas PRIMARILY was all about the anticipation surrounding what Santa would bring -- there were more long-lasting, less "gimme gimme" type moments, that marked the holiday season for me. Moments that became traditions I looked forward to each year:
1. Getting dressed up in red holiday dresses, white tights and black Mary Janes for a visit to Santa.
As an identical twin, I always wore outfits that matched exactly with my twin sister Allyson. It wasn't only the visit itself, as pictures of the event show a less than enthusiastic toddler, but more, the whole lead up to the event.
When I look at some of the dresses we carry in our stores, they remind me so much of those long ago visits with Santa!
2. Making holiday baked goodies.
As the youngest member of our all-Greek family, our holiday baking didn't revolve around the more traditional Christmas cookies -- we weren't making snickerdoodles and gingerbread men. Instead, we would spend hours making sweet Greek treats to welcome visitors during the holiday season. We'd bake baklava, finikia, kourambiethes and a sweet Greek Christmas bread called Christopsomo.
3. Wrapping gifts
I wrap my gifts carefully, they are often fastened with intricate bows and decorations and of course, I use glue only, never scotch tape. Each year I do a theme, last year it was mainly silver, beiges and golds:
Not sure where my anal tendencies regarding wrapping came from, but I'm guessing it was from my Mom. For a few days each season, all the various rolls of wrapping paper and accoutrements were left out as wrapping was underway! It was there, by my mother's side, that I was taught to always fold all edges, always make crisp creases, always place the seams where they could be hidden under ribbons! My mother never just used any old paper, there was a coordinated look...gifts under the tree had to look good. Despite my own resistance at times, I am my mother's daughter!
4. Taking out and putting up all the Christmas decorations.
We had an attic and a basement, but for some reason, all the Christmas decorations were designated as "attic storage", unlike the tools, extra bikes and assorted items that were relegated to the basement for storage.
My Dad would go up the pull-down attic stairs and bring down all the precisely-labeled decorations. Then, we'd form an assembly line and pass down all the boxes to the family room, "distribution-central". From her command post there, my Mom would tell us what room to put each box in. Then, room by room, the decorations would go up. Finishing with the tree. It was a big job. It still is, but I love giving every nook and cranny in my own home a festive touch:
5. And finally, the gifts! The main act...
We would get up at dawn and run down the stairs. We were allowed to open our stockings before my parents woke up. Stockings were filled with all sorts of great essentials and cute gag gifts. We'd enjoy this prelude, while Mom put the coffee on (in those days, there were no automatic timers).
One year, my Dad lined the upstairs hallway and stairway with the latest 45's! (For those too young to know what these were -- they were small 2-song records you played after putting in a plastic thing-a-ma-jig so it would spin on the turnstile) We gleefully read each chart-topping hit as we picked up each record and made our way downstairs.
Now, I realize that that initial excitement is best experienced around children at Christmas. So much fun to see their unbridled enthusiasm and joy!
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