As we wind down our last few days of work, (and I can hear the choruses of "must be nice to have so much time off). I'm thinking about all of the Christmas traditions that my life has cycled through.

My mom and dad were married until I was eleven years old. So, in those years I had to go wake my little sister up so we could walk out into the living room and see what Santa brought us at the same time.

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Then after the divorce and both of them remarrying, we had new traditions to get used to. Christmas Eve would be spent at my dad's place. And his new wife's rule was that no gifts would be open until all the dinner dishes were done. When you're fourteen, you think that is a dumb rule.

Then bright and early Christmas Morning dad would load us up for the trek back to my mom's house. On years when we got presents that were large, it would be hard to get me, my sister, our sleeping bags, and all of our gifts in dad's car for the commute.

Fast forward to me living on my own and having to take two ladies back to Great Falls for the holiday. Good thing that I had a full-sized pickup. Ladies require more luggage space. And we always got a hotel room. Because if we stayed at Mom's place, dad would have his feelings hurt and vice versa. Plus we always got a room within walking distance of Howards Pizza. When you are at a hotel, you aren't violating somebody else's house rules if you are up late or wake up early watching TV.

Now my daughter and I decorate the tree together each year using mostly ornaments that she got to pick out and I'm cherishing that each year as I have been told by many friends that these darn kids grow up pretty fast.

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