This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Latina Bloggers and Sears. Though compensation has been made my opinions and writings are my own.
Christmas has been a long time coming this year. July usually marks the time when I start yearning for winter and the holiday cheer that comes when December finally rolls around. Family, food and the traditions that go along with Christmas are what make it such a wonderful and magical time for me. For my husband and my daughters too.
When I was very young I moved from The East Coast to California where the majority of my family lived, and still does. It was then that Christmas really took on the meaning it has today.
Family and Tradition
Let’s start with the Christmas tree. My brothers and I can both remember running through tree lots playing hide and seek while Mom and Dad searched for that perfect specimen to hold the tubs worth of decorations we had waiting at home.
Hot chocolate, coffee. and sweet cakes of all different kinds were ready for us when we got home with the tree. I loved that. Add in a heavy dose of classic holiday music and we had the makings for the perfect family time when we would sing, laugh and decorate the tree to the hilt.
Speaking of decorating, each year when we went shopping, we all got to pick one new ornament to hang. This is very special because it allowed us to add a special touch to our tree that was our very own.
For my brothers it was usually Scooby Do or some other cartoon theme. Dad, well he always got a Star Trek ornament. Mom and I migrated more towards classy and beautiful ornaments such as Precious Moments or intricate balls with glazing and sparkles. Imagine how awesome a tree looks after years of accumulating 4-5 ornaments a year. Our tree always made a statement about our family and the love we shared.
So the stage was set for a great Christmas, but it was only the beginning.
Two other traditions come to mind that I want to share.
My mother is a master in the kitchen. Thankfully she always included me in her yearly tradition of baking delicious goodies and candy to be given out in gift plates and boxes to all of our friends and extended family. Such fond memories of the kitchen being transformed into a flour and sugar battleground. We would start early and end late as she taught me how to cook and bake the right way. Everything from scratch and made with love.
My Dad always believed he was the official taster. But really it was me. From chocolate covered pretzels to cookies from heaven we made everything. Bread, cakes. and hard candy were all on the menu. But hands down it was the fudge she made that was, and still is, my all time favorite.
On a nicely decorated platter we would head out on another family tradition. Christmas Eve at my Aunt’s house. It was there that we would gather as a family to celebrate and exchange gifts every year.
Back then it was a huge gathering where I would see relatives from close and far away to share an awesome feast and play on her huge yard with its make-shift playground complete with a hanging tire on a rope. Special was the gifts we exchanged too. Both very meaningful and sometimes full of humor that only we as a family would understand.
But oh, Christmas morning. That’s when the gift giving got intense. Though we didn’t always have a lot my folks always went the extra mile giving us presents. If it was 6:00am, we were up. Just too giddy to wait, we would wake up my parents to show them all the loot Santa had left us under the tree. Thinking back he and my parents wanted nothing more than to give us the very best they could. I love them all for it.
I find it amazing how they did it too. I remember shopping trips when they would tell us we had to buy gifts for Cousin or Grandma or whoever. When actually we kids were on the list too. The mall was always a great stop off for that occasion. Undoubtedly we had our pictures taken with Santa, rode the toy train and wandered from shop to shop looking at all the cool stuff stores had displayed for the holidays. Sneaky, and one at a time, my parents would peel off and shop for us. My Mom would make for the boutiques and specialty shops. Dad always headed for the big stores. Namely Sears, his favorite by far.
When I talk to him about it now, as an adult, he makes so much sense. Big department stores like that you can find anything and everything. Especially Sears. At Sears you can always count on getting more – more value, more brands. Also more rewards and more ways to shop too.
I could turn this post into a small novel if I keep going. But my point to drive home is family, traditions and the reason for the season are what’s important. I will strive to share and carry on these things with my children too. I can only hope my girls grow the same memories as I did when I was young. I know I work hard to make that happen and now as an adult I understand why it is so important.
In this topsy turvy world we have to stick together. Along with our traditions and love we forge unseen and unspoken bonds that help us live life to the fullest. I hope you and your family can do so as well. Share the joy of Christmas!
This holiday season Sears has partnered with the Huffington Post to highlight Latino Holiday traditions and how Sears is the place to go to get gifts for the whole family.