What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give? Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?
I pretty much liked all the gifts I received at Christmas. “Santa” was always very generous to me. Some of my favorite gifts from childhood included anything “Barbie”; my Easy-Bake Oven and Washer, dolls, and board games and an actual Santa doll (I still have him!)
When I became a young adult the gifts changed of course. I would always receive a koala bear ornament and a “daughter” ornament, a new pair of pajamas or nightgown, and then whatever was on my “list” that year.
My favorite gifts to give were “Mom and Dad” ornaments for my parents each year. I bought my mother a stereo one year so she could play her old 33 rpm albums. My father was not one to get excited over gifts–and always said wrapping paper and greeting cards were “a waste of money.” He did not like to shop for gifts. He preferred to just give my mother the money to buy what she wanted or give me money so I could buy what I wanted. My parents and I had our own tradition where we would open one gift after we returned home from midnight mass and then open the rest in the morning.
For the extended family, we usually held a Christmas grab bag at our family parties (for those age 16 an older) because there were too many of us and you just could not afford to buy a gift for everyone.