My grandpa will always be my favorite Santa…

Christmas has always been my grandfather’s favorite holiday and because of all the love he puts in to it year after year, he has made it our favorite holiday too. It is all about the traditions.

Every year all 14 of us roll in from where ever we live and move in to their house for the week.

Every year I wrap my presents for my family in newspapers, hoping maybe one year it will catch on.

Every year my grandfather gives my grandmother at least one gift she doesn’t like.

Every year my mom really likes to sing Christmas carols.

Every year my vegetarian brother eats fake bacon and my grandfather refers to it as his eating disorder.

Every year we wear crowns on our heads, say grace and eat lots of food.

And every year, after is all said and done, we pack up our new loot and return to our respective states and my grandparents once again have their house back. But this year there was a small but significant change in tradition…

This year my grandfather waited and let us decorate the Christmas tree.

But it wasn’t an easy thing for my grandparents to watch. 65 years of marriage means they know how they like their Christmas tree to be decorated and they weren’t so sure we were doing it right.

And although we enjoyed ourselves, despite our lack of Christmas tree decorating style, it was hard for us to let them sit there.

It was breaking tradition. It was my grandfather taking a step back and giving away a little control. And the reason for his step back is a hard thing to think about. So we do our best not to think about it.

Instead we are so grateful for every day and every tradition we have and we hope with all our hearts that it will all be exactly the same next year.

About the author paige green

Paige Green is a documentary and portrait photographer, whose storytelling approach to photography frequently addresses issues involving agriculture, land use, and food. Her work is featured in nine books and has been published in Glamour, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Culture. Paige lives in Petaluma, CA with a house full of boys.

All posts by paige green →


  1. The Christmas one bought me to tears but then I read the dog piece and your horiscope and I am speechless. Please put these somewhere they will stay forever. They are beautiful inimages and words. Love, Mom


  2. oh Paige. What a beautiful tribute to your grandparents and their lovely traditions. I have always been amazed by the commitment of your entire family to christmas together at their house. I love it. Powerful stuff. Love you.


  3. beautiful.


  4. Loved reading that Paige and seeing your fantastic pictures. It’s as Christmas should be. Really hope you’re well and wishing lots of happiness and luck in 2010. What state are you living in? I’m in London, so drop me a line if you’re ever over in Blighty!

    Lots of love

    ps – Please send me love to Lindsay too xx


  5. your mom is right.
    i’m with her.
    on all counts.


  6. love this – so much like my own family.


  7. Paige, I am redoing my favorite blogs to follow and NEEDED to move you to my”MUST READ DAILY”!

    This was a beautiful blog….I so look forward to the day that Nici and her family and Travis and his(!?) come to our house EVERY Christmas too….hope it happens. Happy New Year sweet girl!

    xo, T.


  8. Giggled and teared up. You are a precious woman Paige!


  9. Love the fact that I googled “grandpa is my favorite santa” and your blog is the first thing I see! My dad plays Santa every year in our small hometown for churches and community events, as well as house calls on Christmas eve. (all out of the kindness of his heart). My Dad, now Addi’s grandpa is by far our favorite Santa. I always enjoy how well you capture moments as shown above! Beautiful family and memories. Hope all is well and happy holidays!


  10. […] But I was feeling unmotivated, broke and out of time (we only had 18 days in our new home before our annual Christmas pilgrimage to Carbondale, Illinois.) […]


  11. This is so incredibly special and touching. You, dear woman, are divinely gifted. I am so glad you are in my life, and about to take photos for our family. Thank you for being, and for showing up, witnessing, and loving, the way you do.


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