Christmas is all about memories and traditions that have been carried on from our parents and grandparents and then passed on by us to our children and their children.

The string of lights on the outside of the house and the wreath on the door was the give-a-way that the holiday season was beginning. Now it’s all about how many lights can you use to impress the neighbors or get recognition on the local news.

Who doesn’t remember getting up on Christmas morning to find the doll you wanted or the train set you dreamed about playing with?  Families traveled “over the river and through the woods” to spend the holidays with loved one and enjoy dinner that took days to prepare.

Times definitely have influenced many of the traditions. Having a “real” tree is preferred by many but the artificial tree with LED lights is one that makes is less time consuming and more practical.  Pull it out of the box, plug it in and there you have it.  A well-lit tree with or without decorations.

Tree decorations of everything imaginable and at every price point are available.  Being the “Martha Stewart” of my family,  I made all the decorations and, as my kiddos got older, they were part of this tradition.  From bread dough ornaments to macrame to counted cross-stitch ornaments, and every other thing I could think of was our project in November.  Of course, we have store bought ornaments from my youth, including a reindeer from my first Christmas, and ornaments that were made in grade school by my children. (Homemade ornaments by me)

All of these and more now decorate my daughter’s tree with hundreds of memories.

Cookie baking was synonymous with holidays in our house.  Again, the kiddos were always included.  Friends and teachers were the recipients of these goodies.

As parents, we instilled the importance of family traditions and being together for the holidays, and veered away from the commercialism of the season.

Yes, I understand that commercializing all the holidays helps the economy, but there is a point where I say “enough.” 

Some parents go into debt (do Christmas Clubs still exist where parents were encouraged to save throughout the year specifically for gifts?) to give their children everything on the wish list. 

And the toys on that list!  Don’t get me started.  As kids get older, they want new phones, tablets and computer games. From age 11, my son wanted a real helicopter which he never got, but it was on his list every year.

As I reflect on the days of “old,” I still think the importance of families being together is what holidays are all about.