I guess most of my childhood Christmases were not much different than anyone else's. In my younger years we would often have one set of grandparents visiting. I remember candle lit Christmas Eve services. The special Advent book my mom would read us during school the whole month of December. I remember this really cool stuffed Nativity we had that my brothers and I liked to play with. And a cool pop-up Nativity book, which my kids now have.
From the ages of six or so, until I was twelve, my family lived overseas. So Christmas was a little bit different those years, mainly it was spent without visits from grandparents. Still, there were plenty of things about those years to make them special. For those years, Christmas came in a box. When the box from my grandparents arrived (and there were always two, one from my mom's parents, one from my dad's) we were always allowed to pick one small present to go ahead and open. That was always my favorite part, because sometimes the boxes came a whole week before Christmas! Sure, my parents bought us presents too, but it was always way more exciting to get a box in the mail from my grandparents. It was quite a chore for them too, I'm sure. All the boxes had to be shipped weeks and weeks in advance to make sure they'd make it across the ocean in time. Some years they made it on time, rarely they didn't.
Back then, especially when we lived in Germany I remember well going to the post office on base to get our mail (for some reason they didn't deliever it to our apartment). We would follow my mom excitedly down the halls of the post office lined with little mail boxes until we got to our own. It had a tiny little window you could see through and we would always be trying to get a glimpse to see if it looked like we had a pink slip (or was it a yellow slip?). A slip meant you had a package! And a package meant presents from grandparents. So then we'd go over to the package window and wait in line. Usually trying to peer over the counter when the clerk went to go get our box, hoping it would be something big! One Christmas in particular, a box from my mom's mom hadn't arrived, though we knew it was coming. Christmas Eve rolled around and it still hadn't arrived. So we went to the post office late at night, to see if it had come in on the last truck. Sure enough it had. Who needs Santa when you have grandparents, right?
It's funny now, looking back, since I know that's not the normal way to do Christmas. But for us, it was fantastic. And it just goes to prove to me that I don't have to try so hard to make Christmas perfect for my kids. It's Christmas! And they're kids, it will be perfect no matter what, at least in their eyes. Someday they'll look back on Christmases spent up here in Connecticut and maybe they'll remember the excitement of getting a box from Amazon via Mimi or Nana and how exciting that was. Who knows? And yes, we still get boxes every Christmas from both my grandparents, and I think I look forward to them just as much as the kids do!
What are some of your favorite, but maybe un-traditional Christmas memories?