Uncle Santa & Other Christmas Traditions

For as long as I can remember, my family would always go to my grandmother’s house for Christmas Eve, one of my favorite holiday traditions. My cousins, aunts, and uncles would all be there as well. There would be lots of great food and fun times with everyone. The best part of the night would be when we would hear the jingling of bells. All of us kids would run out to the porch to look in the sky for Santa’s sleigh. By the time we got back into the house, Santa would already be there! Each grandchild would then get a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what we wanted for Christmas. Then he would give us each a gift. I have such great memories of these times.

As I got a bit older, I started to notice some funny things about Santa. One year, Santa had a suspicious looking black mustache peeking out from under his white beard. A mustache quite similar to my uncle’s (remember, this was probably the late 80’s, not Movember). Once my older cousins and I knew what the real shindig was, it became fun to watch the younger ones get excited about it. We, of course, were much older and wiser, and “Santa’s” jig was up.

Now, as an adult, I’ve learned some hilarious things about Santa. Like the time Santa pinched the bottom of my older cousin, who was probably 12. Or another year when Santa’s day job was as a stripper… but apparently was such a great Santa, he came back the next year!

Now, it’s our turn to come up with fun, memorable traditions for our kids. We haven’t had Santa come in a few years. Instead, we’ve been doing a gift exchange game that has gotten more and more competitive and cutthroat as the years have gone on. This game puts the Real Housewives franchise to shame. I mean, family alliances, serious conspiring, backstabbing, drunken brawls…. well, maybe no drunken brawls. But, let’s just say no one is above taking the most prized gift from one of the kids.

But this year the time has come again… Santa is making an appearance!  My cousins and I have started having the next generation of children, and it is going to be so exciting to pass our Christmas Eve tradition on to them. Now, we are going to be the ones jingling the bells and spying Santa’s sleigh, with, I’m sure, a nice glass of pinot in one hand and a camera in the other. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about any questionable activities from Santa this year since I enlisted my brother to play the role – thank goodness Uncle Brandon shaved off his Movember mustache!

Family traditions can evolve as families grow. People move, families expand, and things change. However, I hope we can continue our Christmas Eve tradition for a long time.

What about Y’all? Do you have any fun (or just plain funny) family traditions to share?

P.S. As for the traditional Christmas Day movie… why aren’t my kids old enough to see Les Miz????

Cheryl Leddy is both a mom and a C.P.A. in her native Jacksonville, FL. Upon graduating from the University of Florida, her love for Jacksonville brought her back to the First Coast where she began her career and her family. She and her husband have three curly-haired children, Nate, Evelyn, and Whit, whom she adores, but who constantly keep her on her toes! Cheryl is fortunate to be able to work as a C.P.A. at Farmand, Farmand, and Farmand, LLP while also being home with her children (except during the dreaded “tax season”!). Her favorite parts about living in Jacksonville are the great family and kid-friendly activities, the proximity to the beach, as well as the short drive to Gainesville, where she can keep up with the Florida Gators (her first true love)! She is excited to share some tax and financial tips that can benefit all moms and growing families…hope you enjoy!

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