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Old, new traditions make each Christmas special

Each year the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems to fly by faster than the year before. One would think with Christmas decorations out in the stores well before Halloween now it would make it feel like the season is longer, but alas, it still seems to pass in the blink of an eye.

Life was so busy the last few weeks that I missed doing some of the things that have become recent traditions since moving to Oxford 10 years ago. I missed going to the Square the day after Thanksgiving for the tree lighting and horse carriage rides. We didn’t make the Water Valley or Taylor parades either. I was able to make the Oxford parade, however.

There were some new things, though. My daughter and I took the grandkids to Christmas in Cotton Plant for the first time.

What a crazy, wonderful place. I dread to think of that couple’s electric bill next month. The drive was about 45 minutes and well worth it and I’m sure it will become a new yearly tradition in our family. If you haven’t been, make it a plan to visit next year. It’s acres filled with thousands of Christmas decorations that the Paul family lovingly puts up every year just to share the true meaning of Christmas with thousands of people.

Something else new this year was two new additions to our family to celebrate Christmas with. They aren’t brand new, but for my two youngest grandchildren, Ahlyiah, 8 months, and Julian, 11 months, it was their first Christmas. They weren’t completely clued into what was going on Christmas morning but they liked ripping off the wrappings from their gifts and their faces had this adorable, “My family has gone nuts,” look while their siblings screamed with glee while seeing all that Santa had brought them.

In some families, kids wake up, head to the tree and start going at the presents. However, in our family, children are taught a valuable lesson in life — patience.

Even when my own children were small, they had to wait — as I did — until all family members arrived or woke up before being able to open presents and it’s no different now. I, like my mother did, enjoy watching everyone open their presents with everyone together.

While my kids grumbled when they were young abut having to wait for Grandma and PaPa to get up, dressed, eat breakfast and settle into the living room, are now doing the same thing with their own children. Now they get it. Now they understand that the best part of Christmas is seeing their children’s faces light up, hearing squeals of delights and feeling the pure joy that giving on Christmas brings.

I love getting gifts too. They don’t need to be expensive or fancy. I just love the thought that goes behind the gifts, like my daughter Amanda’s gift to me. She got me boots. I have neuropathy in my feet and finding comfortable shoes, let alone boots is a challenge. She managed to find a pair that not only fit but had the right size heel and width around the ankles so they go on easily.

My daughter, Brianna, bought me a one-piece pajama outfit that I’ve been eyeing each time we’ve walked into Walmart. I didn’t even realize she noticed me looking at it, but apparently she did. My son, sharing my geekiness, got me a collectible figurine from The Walking Dead – a wonderful, little zombie that is now perched on my desk looking at me as I write this.

Each year, since babies started to be born again in my family, we’ve said we’re only buying for the kids, and each year, we all break that arrangement.

It’s tradition.

Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at the Oxford Eagle. Email her at alyssa.schnugg@oxfordeagle.com