Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Making Family a Tradition

As the father of three beautiful children I have tried to make Christmas extra special by doing those extra little things that will help create memories throughout their lifetimes. Christmas is a magical time for young children and it is up to us fathers to make sure and do those things that we can to make it a memorable time. Our wives and mothers have a knack for making everything special throughout the year and have many opportunities to serve our children. Christmas is one time that fathers can take a larger role in doing something special and fun for their children.

My love for Christmas started for me as a young boy. My father loved Christmas. It was his favorite time of year and he made it very special for me and my four other siblings. The very minute that Thanksgiving ended my dad was pulling out what felt like hundreds of Christmas boxes full of decorations, lights, and many other Christmas items. While pulling out all of these wonderful decorations my dad would dust off his old Bing Crosby “White Christmas” record and put it on our ancient record player. I can still hear the record player churning out those Christmas songs in my mind and picture myself plugging in and testing the endless strands of Christmas lights. I start to feel nostalgic every year on the day after Thanksgiving.

My dad would string up lights on the house, have us kids help set up the nativity sets, put decorations on the mantle, hang up our stockings, and spend the whole night on the day after Thanksgiving making the house a Christmas wonderland. He would even boil cloves and apples to give the house a wonderful Christmas scent. It was a special day every year and as a little boy I would anticipate this day as much as Christmas Day itself.

In the week following the decoration of the house, we would make our way to the Christmas tree lot in town to find a Christmas tree. This wasn’t a lot where you just picked out a tree that was already cut down. This was a large field full of trees that were still in the ground. We were so excited to pick the perfect tree and thrilled with the opportunity to actually cut it down and tie it to the top of our car. We often flocked the tree making it appear as if snow were covering the tree. We then would take it in the house and start the tree decorating process. My mom would make fresh baked cookies or hot cinnamon rolls while we helped our dad string the lights on the tree, hang the little icicle strands, tinsel, and hundreds of other ornaments. My dad would make this night special, too, by playing more of his records, and later on reading us Christmas books.

My dad instilled in me a love for the holiday time of year. He taught me that it was a time for the kids. I am sure he saved extra money all year to be able to make this time special for us and do things to enjoy the whole month of December, not just Christmas Day.

It’s not the presents and the gifts that I remember the most, it’s that day after Thanksgiving spent with my dad hanging lights outside; it’s that night helping my dad decorate the tree; it’s that night he read us kids ‘Twas the Night before Christmas; it’s that afternoon picking out a tree and helping my dad cut it down; it’s the wonderful smell of the house and the sound of old Christmas records; it’s the happy feeling inside I had knowing that my dad loved me enough to do the extra little things to make Christmas a special time to remember.

When your children want to go for a drive to see Christmas lights this year, take them. When your children want to go cut down a real tree this year, take them. When your children want you to read them Christmas books at night, read to them. When your kids want to make a snowman, help them. You will never regret doing too much for them or spending too much time with them.

Make this year’s Christmas special. A father can offer a lot to his children and Christmas is a great time to start making memories that will last forever.

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Rachelle said...

You are the most amazing Dad! I loved this post. :)

Chad Vest Family said...

Steve, I loved your xmas memomories it makes me so happy I want to cry. You are a great writer.