Many families have their little sweet or quirky things that they do around the holidays. Some hide a pickle ornament in their tree. Others place an elf in different places around the house. Our family was no exception.

-For instance, my mother always told us that “Santa doesn’t wrap”. That’s right all the money and effort that you have spent over the years could simply have been done away with this way of thinking. She used to tell us that Santa and his elves couldn’t possibly wrap all the toys that were given throughout the world - and it made sense to us.

-One year instead of wrapping our parents' presents to my brother and me, our mom had us wait in the family room, and she would disappear into the dining room where our unwrapped gifts were hidden. She would take out one large shopping bag for us and place one item in each bag. After we had taken the item out of the bag, she would go back into the dining room for more.

(Do you see a theme here? It looks like from the two above items that it was a way to save not only money and time, but really she just hated wrapping gifts!)

-My Grandmother Irene, who had a small house and not a lot of places to hide presents, didn’t trust any of us to not go peaking. In the past a wrapped present’s flap might have mysteriously flew open by tiny inquisitive hands, so she would give each package a letter not a name. She never used that letter twice so you couldn’t figure out which presents were yours. She then kept her cheat sheet well hidden.

-We also didn’t leave the traditional cookies and milk out for Santa. We would leave Chinese Food with a shot of whiskey or lasagna with a glass of red wine. Mom said Santa would get a tummy ache from so many cookies that were left for him around the world and that he would appreciate some tasty food instead. She also said that Santa needed to 'warm up from the inside' and milk just wouldn't cut it! Dad, or rather Santa, did enjoy the midnight snack because there would only be a few crumbs left on the plate, and surprisingly, the drink would also be gone.

-Sometimes the carrots that we left for the reindeers would only have a few scraps left on the kitchen floor, or there might even be a chunk of ice from their hooves, possibly even a bit of fluff from Santa’s suit - all clear indications that he had been there.

-Speaking of presents, my Grandmother Noreen used to say, like a lot of your parents or grandparents, that once you stopped believing in Santa, that those presents stopped too. My brother and I weren’t stupid, so of course, we kept 'believing' into our 20’s!

-She would also say when we were getting into that disbelief age that “Of course there is a Santa, do you think that parents would spend money that they didn’t have in order to promote a myth.” All these things made sense to us.

-Since it’s normally cold and snowy in our area during the holidays (just not this year), one of the much appreciated things my mom would do is while we were playing in the snow, she would put our robes or sweats or whatever into the dryer and heat them up. Then when we came in from the cold she’d have us put them on along with a nice hot cup of cocoa. That’s one thing that I will definitely do when we have kids.

-One of our friend’s mom would give her son only 3 Christmas gifts since that’s what Baby Jesus got from the 3 Wise Men. They were however 3 larger and better gifts, not underwear like one of the presents that so many of us got as a filler.

-I am more spiritual than religious, however, is there anything more magical than Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve? It’s so quiet outside that you can hear the crunch of the snow in the darkness, and the church is illuminated so beautifully. It is one of my favorite holiday memories.

-It’s things like this that make the holidays precious and memorable. Think about all the great sweet or quirky things that might have taken place in your homes too. Maybe I’ve provided you with a few ideas of new things to start, or reminded you of a forgotten childhood memory.. Some of this stuff you just can’t make up!

We hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday!

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