12/19/2012 07:55 am ET

Christmas Traditions: Midlifers Share Holiday Memories (PHOTOS)

Christmases past, in most cases, have fewer ghosts than good memories. We visited with Julia Scheeres, the author of The New York Times best-selling memoir "Jesus Land," who grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana, with five siblings -- two of whom were adopted. She now lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and two small kids.

In Scheeres' strict Calvinist household, her parents didn't allow their children to believe in Santa and her mother sent out holiday cards reminding all that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." Nevertheless, Julia and her siblings poured over the Sears' "Wish Book" for months, numbering toys in order of desirability, Scheeres recalled. The family opened their presents on Christmas Eve so they could spend Christmas Day at church, and gifts were unwrapped one at a time, youngest to oldest, as "A Christmas Sing with Bing" spun on the record player.

Scheeres' favorite Christmas Eve was in 1983, when she and her brother received a Coleco Vision video game console, along with a Donkey Kong game cartridge. They spent the rest of winter break holed up in the television room, hopped up on malted milk balls as they tried to rescue the Lady.

"Christmas really belongs to kids," Scheeres says. "It's just not as exciting as a grown-up, when you can buy yourself a toy whenever you want. Now I get a thrill seeing my kids giddy at the thought of Santa's magical toy supply. And if they don't get exactly what they wanted . . . well, there's no one to blame but Santa."

What were your childhood Christmases like? How did you celebrate them when you were a kid or when your own children were young? Do you remember running out the door on Christmas morning to try out the new sled that Santa brought? Did your family cut down its own tree in the forest and strap it to the roof of the car to get it home? Huff Post/50 asked readers to share their photos and memories with us. Please join the party by posting your favorite holiday photos from Christmases past to the slideshow below.

Photos From Christmases Past