When did you open Christmas presents when you were growing up? Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? If you traveled, did your parents take the gifts, or did you open them early or late? Did your parents have Santa leave presents? Were they wrapped or unwrapped? Did you have stockings? What was generally in those? Were gifts simple and practical or more extravagant? Did you give presents to your parents and siblings? Were they homemade or purchased? If purchased, did you pay with your own money or did your parents pay? What are memories of special gifts you received? Did you ever peek and find out what your gifts were ahead of time? Did presents gradually appear under the tree in the days leading up to Christmas and were you allowed to touch/shake them?
We always opened presents on Christmas Day. It seems like we always begged to open one on Christmas Eve, and were allowed to. Of course, that was before Santa came. We didn't have a fireplace in our house, so we put our stockings on the footpost of the bed or on the doorknob of the door to our room. In our stockings, we always had a tangerine and candy.
If I'm remembering correctly, Santa wrapped out presents. One year, Santa thought it would be a good idea to put all of my presents in one big box, so I only had one big present to open. This is going to sound really bratty, but that was one of the most disappointing Christmases I've ever had. My parents did the best they could buying presents for all 10 of us. Most of our presents were practical; there were very few times we got anything that wasn't practical. Definitely nothing name brand. And, it seemed like every year, my sister & I would always get the same thing, but in a different color. She's 18 months older than I, so I know it had to have bothered her more than it did me.
Since there were 10 kids, we would draw names. We spent many evenings staring at the presents and picking them up, shaking them to see if we could figure out what was in them. I'm sure we made things in school for our parents, but, honestly, I can't remember. I remember being overjoyed at getting a hula hoop one Christmas.
When I was really little, we would draw names with cousins on my mom's side in Texas. Oh, the anticipation of waiting for the UPS man to deliver the packages! The anticipation is what made Christmas so special.
We had to wait until everybody woke up to open presents. As the older ones got older, it was extremely hard to wait for them to get up, especially since us younger ones were usually up by 6:00. A couple of us would hand out the presents, then, daddy would count down and we would all open our presents. Talk about total and complete mayhem! Papers flying everywhere; it seems like every year someone would lose some little present and there would be tears. But, it would always be found, even if the mounds of wrapping paper were sifted through. As soon as the presents would open, daddy would insist that everything be taken to our rooms. Christmas at my house now seems really low-key, with only 3 kids. But, a lot of it's the same: the tearing into presents, and someone losing something. It wouldn't be Christmas without it!
This is me during an early Christmas. I look to be about 3, maybe 4? Here's the funny thing: here's another picture of that same Christmas. Look what my sister that's 18 months older than me has in her hand!
And you thought I was joking!