Family traditions are funny things. We try to string as many elements of an event together as we can that link one year to another. Days like Christmas are supposed to feel somehow the same each year. But everything is always changing.
When I was really little I remember Christmas mornings at home. We hung tinsel on our tree, which was impossible not to just want to drag in handfuls all over the needles when we were small, but my mom always made an effort to get us to carefully hang individual strands onto the branches to look like icicles. We always took the tinsel off later to store in its box for the next year, and it eventually got quite crinkly.
As we got a little older and could handle the car ride, the tradition for us was to drive to Ohio on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday with my grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins. My grandfather worked for Sears, so we got to circle things in the famous catalogue that we desired, and a fair number of those toys would end up under the tree in the den. I remember the torture of waiting for grown ups to finish their coffee in the morning until everyone was assembled and ready to throw open the doors in the family room to reveal the carefully decked out tree and the pile of presents underneath. Their tree didn't have tinsel, but did have golden tinsel garlands that wrapped around it. My grandma always made spritz cookies in the shapes of wreathes and trees, along with pecan crescents and date yums. She made stollen. At dinner there was her famous orange jello. For years our tradition also included my brothers feeling carsick on the their birthday on the drive back to Detroit.