Every year on Christmas Eve, we open one gift. The contents of that present will never change, no matter how many times my children whine and complain. When they were younger, they would write letters to Santa begging him to add the spice of variety to our Christmas Eve gifts. How did that work out? Well, let’s just say that the contents of these boxes remains the same: Pajamas. I know, it’s not a fancy tradition, but it’s ours.
Within that Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, or Baby Jesus wrapping paper, lies one of the only Christmas traditions that I have carried on from my own childhood. It is a cornerstone of the Witt Family Christmas and in all fairness, I think that my teenage and twenty-something children are finally beginning to understand the importance of these presents. No, it’s not money, or I-pads, or gift cards, that make these gifts so special. In fact, truth be told, it’s not even the PJs that make this ritual so important; though I do spend a ridiculous amount of time selecting them. For me, it’s about the creation of memories within our family and maybe even the hope that my children will continue with this tradition in their own families. A girl can hope, right?
This year, I even went so far as to have the girls’ bedtime attire monogrammed with our initials and they were thrilled! And perhaps even more important, I didn’t meltdown when two sets of the boys’ matching pajamas didn’t get delivered on time. I simply splashed on some doTerra Elevation and trekked to the Walmart to purchase some substitutions. I was a warrior queen; nothing was going to rain on my pajama parade!
And so as the evening progressed, we proceeded with the opening of the gifts in the usual order, youngest to oldest. ( I won’t tell you where I fall in that pecking order.) And even though everyone knew what their box contained, there was still an atmosphere of excitement and a bit of sarcasm with, “Geez, mom. I wonder what this could be?” Ha, ha very funny. They could say what they wanted, but I knew they were excited; a mother knows these things.
After the unwrapping frenzy, everyone changed into their jammies and it was time for our annual PJ picture in front of the tree. We couldn’t help but go into hysterics when my husband entered the room. Unfortunately, his ensemble was a size too small and he looked like a disco dancer in a leisure suit, chest hair and all! And since his chest hair is gray, he is now affectionately referred to as “the silver fox.” After nearly peeing my pants, we got serious and the photo shoot began. I am happy to report that we are getting better! It only took us 20 attempts to get a few acceptable pictures! By acceptable, I mean that my oldest daughter, Shelbee, approved of a few of them. After all, she is the self-proclaimed “selfie” queen and every photo must be perfect prior to being launched into cyber space.
After many laughs and jokes and blinding flashes from the camera, we prepared for bed and for Santa to deliver the goods. As my husband and I were headed to bed, Shelbee’s boyfriend, Karson thanked us for the evening. I smiled and told him that we were happy to have him share in our tradition. He seemed so childlike and thrilled to be pajama-clad like the rest of us. He was quick to say that this was one of the most “awesome” traditions that he had ever been a part of and would some day continue it with his own family. Gulp…a lump in my throat and the sting of tears in my eyes. I smiled, hugged him and walked down the hall to bed, leaving my husband to explain that the tears signified my happiness. Oh, after 23 years of marriage, that man knows me so well.
Ken was right. My tears did signify happiness and joy and even gratitude that I was allowing myself to be present in the awesome moments of life. I was allowing myself to participate in this beautifully blessed life that God created just for me. And if you read yesterday’s blog, you know that those parts of me had been shut down for years. How awesome that Karson loved our tradition enough to contemplate continuing it with his own family some day. How beautiful that a piece of the Witt family tradition could possibly be carried on within another family. And as simpleminded as it may sound, in that moment, I knew that my decision to limit our Christmas Eve gifts to pajamas was one that I would never regret.
Today, we are creating a new tradition. Today we celebrate our first annual Pajama and Crazy Hair Day. The rules are simple, you must wear your Christmas Eve pajamas and you are not allowed to comb your hair. Let the games begin. My cup runneth over.