Christmas Traditions

By Katia Telles Contributor

A person showcasing a rustic gift.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

For those of us who celebrate Christmas, odds are we have some traditions that we keep in our families. Some may be new, some may be old, but Christmas wouldn't be the same for some of us without those traditions.

We have our main Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. Every year, we gather at my aunt's house where we eat dinner, then play games all night long. Once the clock strikes 12 and it is officially Christmas, everyone is allowed to open the gifts with their names on them. The adults and older kids in my family are aware that these gifts are from other family members. However, for all the little ones, the official “Santa Claus” gifts aren’t brought out until later. Before going to bed, every child in our family places one of their shoes under the Christmas tree. We do this because we are told that Santa Claus will put our present under our shoe while we sleep. Every kid in our family tries to stay up as long as possible to see when Santa Claus will come to drop off the gifts. When the sleepiness overpowers their excitement to see Santa Claus, they go to sleep in the hopes that Santa Claus doesn't forget to stop by our house.

The morning of Christmas is when all the children wake up and run to the Christmas tree to see what Santa Claus has brought them. This is usually just one gift, however it is always the biggest and most desired gift on their Christmas list. The rest of the day is spent eating leftovers from the night before and watching all the kids play with their most exciting gifts.

As we get older and grow into our teen years, we eventually stop making Christmas lists and stop waiting for Santa Claus to stop by our house. By this time, we’ve figured out that the only Santa Claus that has been coming to our home every year has been our amazing parents who have been hiding gifts around the house so we wouldn't see them. Which brings up the question: when is it the “right” time to tell our little ones who Santa Claus really is?

Our parents never told us the truth until we figured it out on our own or started to hear about it from our peers. However, we have a rule: do not ruin the childhood beliefs that the children in our households have about Santa Claus. This is the way it has been from my very first Christmas until now, 21 years later. It has been our way of preserving their childhood for as long as possible.

It is not always easy to have that conversation for a parent. Although everyone has different opinions about when, if ever, it is appropriate to tell the kids the truth, we can all agree that eventually it will happen. When it does, we can only hope to be able to laugh about it while we talk about all of the times the kids searched the house to see if it was indeed their parents hiding the gifts.