A Walk Through My Christmas Past: Making the Holiday Special


During this time of year, it can become so easily overwhelming trying to make the holidays special for our kids. Something that helps ground my anxiety about ensuring that my son has the best holidays is recognizing what made holidays special when I was a child. What did my parents do that made me love the holiday season? (Hint: it had little to do with gifts.)

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Here are the things that stand out to me from my childhood Christmases.

Decorating the House

The Friday after Thanksgiving, we’d all spend the day in our cozy jammies decorating the house. This was always a lot of fun–a simple activity, yet something I will cherish forever. Of course you will always remember the silly arguments between siblings or the funny things your parents would say or do.

Christmas Eve Parties

Every Christmas Eve, we’d throw a big party at my Tia’s house. It was the absolute best! Our extended family would get together which meant all of my cousins would be in the same room! We’d play games, eat tamales, and stay up until midnight to open some gifts. These parties became a core memory for me. If I think hard enough, I can remember with great detail how much love was felt in those get-togethers.


One of my favorite parts of the holiday season was the magic of Santa. There was something about the mystery of Santa that stirred my imagination with childhood wonder. As adults sometimes our imaginations get stifled, so it’s awesome to think of how free our minds were to explore as kids.

A Walk Through Christmas PastChristmas Morning

We would always make cookies for Santa to leave out on Christmas Eve. I remember leaving them out with my brothers just to head to bed with the excitement stirring in our tummies. Then we’d wake up earlier than ever before, look at the tree, and jump on my parents’ waterbed to tell them Santa had come! Oh, the magic. And the laughter that was shared by all of us as we opened gifts as we glanced around the room into the eyes of those who love us the most.

Think of the things that made your Christmas magical as a child. I’m sure those memories have little to do with the gifts. You may not even remember any of the gifts you received, but you’ll remember the people you were surrounded by and the love you felt. Adulthood can steal the magic of life quickly if we let it.

I hope you can find the magic in your Christmas past and realize your child will remember the small things the most!

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of El Paso Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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Cindy Mancha
Cindy is an El Paso native raised in the Lower Valley. She is a graduate from Riverside High School and UTEP. She married her best friend from high school and has a spunky son (born in 2020) and is a nurse who has worked in the hospital setting for 7 years. After experiencing a home birth, she realized her true passion was in birth work and is now a birth doula (labor coach). She is passionate about respecting and advocating for women during their birth journeys as well as building community for these moms. She loves her family and is blessed to be able to live next door to her parents. She loves El Paso and cannot wait to help bring mothers in our community together. Follow Cindy on Instagram here.


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