Rather than post a long drawn-out newsletter(which has mostly been shared on this blog already), I wanted to post a “poll” of sorts and find out what kind of family traditions you enjoyed growing up and what family traditions you are incorporating into your family now.
The day after Thanksgiving we would normally put up our Christmas tree. My dad would disappear after bringing all the boxes in, and the chaotic decorating began. The tree would go up and every knick knack we had would go into a box to be replaced by a Christmas decoration. There were endless boxes and surprises every time we’d decorate and I enjoyed this a lot.
There was always the baking/cooking/candymaking weekend, too. It didn’t just happen once, but my mom was an EXPERT at managing about 6 different projects at once. I don’t know how she did it, but she would have different pots & pans going, while decorations were going up and Christmas music blared in the background. We always made peanut butter balls, toffee, dipped pretzels, baked and decorated various assortments of cookies. The freezer would be PACKED to the limit until we could put together the gift plates to take to church or give to neighbors, but we always had more than enough to sneak a peanut butter ball or 2 after school with a glass of milk…
On Christmas Eve, after we were older, we could open most if not all of our family gifts to each other, or gifts that had been sent to us. On Christmas morning, we got to open our gifts from “Santa.” This was always fun, especially while Dave was still young and we got to be part of keeping Santa alive for him.
As a kid, my favorite part of Christmas was Christmas morning when everybody was (FINALLY!) awake. Mom & Dad let us kids dive into our stockings to keep us entertained and from literally exploding before opening our gifts. But it wasn’t my favorite part because of the gifts or stockings overflowing with goodies.
First, my dad would read Luke 2:1-33. (Okay, first, he would ask if our beds were made – he just LOVED to torture us – and we’d have to go make our bed if they weren’t made already…) Whenever my dad would read this passage – even when I was young, it would make me cry (and it still does). It was a moment of simplicity when the real meaning of Christmas Day was acknowledged and fully realized. I always wondered about Mary & Joseph and how they must have felt at the birth of Jesus. Then, we would sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, and that would start our celebration.
We’re still early into our family Christmases, but Greg & I are beginning to talk about the things we’d like to do so our children can have those traditions & memories of the holidays when they grow up.
Whatever you plan to do for Christmas this year, wherever you plan to go, and whoever you will be with, the most important thing to remember is that Christmas is about Jesus Christ – Emmanuel, God with us.
What would you say are your favorite family traditions? Are there any you plan to incorporate into your own family?