Being Irish, traditions are a big part of my background. It goes with the territory. Who knows, maybe it is something in the Celtic DNA. But who am I to argue, I’m as much a stickler for tradition as the next person.
One tradition that Ireland partakes in along with large portions of the world is that of Santa Claus. Sure he is a fictitious character, apparently based on the real St. Nicholas (boat still out on whether or not he was real), but it is a nice tradition to be involved in. The magic of a gift giver sprinkling wishes and joy to all the well-behaved children. Who wouldn’t want to get behind that?
I remember reading a line on some website or blog or newspaper (still a thing at the time of publishing this article for any future kids reading this on holo-screens) that I thought summed up the tradition of Santa Claus nicely. Sadly I can’t remember who said it exactly, so I can’t give due credit, but the line went something like this: There are three phases in a person’s life. When they believe in Santa, when they don’t believe in Santa and when they are Santa.
I always thought it was a nice sentiment. Not everyone becomes a parent, but those who do get to join in on the fun of being Santa. Sneaking presents into the house during the month of December so that the Littles don’t see. Hiding said presents in locations the Littles never go to ensure the myth of Santa is kept alive for as long as possible. Threatening the kids into good behavior by telling them that Santa sees everything. I mean you have to hand it to the Christian religions, they know how to make a reward system based on voyeuristic invisible beings. Hilariously God doesn’t seem to cut it for kids, because the rewards for being good are all in the Afterlife, but Santa can put the fear of God into them to behave.
It’s a clever system.
What’s even more fun about the whole Santa tradition is how parents can go and make their own traditions based around it. These vary from house to house, family unit to the family unit, but you can be damned sure they happen.
For example our tradition from back before the Littles was that it wasn’t officially Christmas until I had seen Die Hard (I’m not getting into why Die Hard is a Christmas movie, it just is. If you don’t agree well jog on dear reader) on the telly box. This used to be a nail-biting affair for me, it has to be said. Back in the day of appointment television you really had to pay attention to what was showing on what channel. But now, thankfully, in the age of digital streaming you can watch Die Hard whenever you want.
Since the Littles appeared on the scene (as if by magic that only took nine months) our family tradition has been to do the present setup on Christmas Eve with Die Hard playing in the background. To be honest it is a dicey choice of background movie, since the noise can drown out the gentle pit-pat of kids coming downstairs when they should be tucked up in bed. But traditions are tough, you have to do them and do them right or they aren’t traditions. I even set myself a little challenge, to have the presents all built and setup before Hans falls off the tower. It adds a little time sensitive pressure to an already intense situation.
If you don’t think setting up a handful of toys perfectly, along with fake snow footprints and half-eaten carrots, all why acting like a Black Ops marine trying to go undetected is intense then you haven’t lived.
Now that Nugget is a bit older we’ve added a little to our Christmas Eve tradition: a Christmas movie before they go to bed. This year I’m going to suggest that we watch Die Hard Junior (aka Home Alone) to ease them into watching a movie about a solo hero saving the day against insane odds all during Christmas. That way when they get a bit older the watching of Die Hard on Christmas Eve will still be part of our family tradition.