Christmas Traditions

Do you have traditions that you do every year?  I remember the many awesome things we used to do as kids!  Now that we have kids of our own we want to incorporate some of what Brian and I did as kids, but we also want to have our own traditions as well.

This is still a work in progress and we are still adding and changing as we go.  Sometimes we find things we’d like to do, but that we just can’t make happen and others that sort of just weasel their way in and have made it a fun thing to do!

I remember growing up my parents reserved an evening for decorating the Christmas tree.  It was usually the weekend after Thanksgiving. I remember Dad would get so frustrated trying to untangle the Christmas tree lights!  That was tradition too!  Mom also had a few varieties of Christmas cookies baked and we got to have a few that evening as well, which is always a treat.

We haven’t come up with any traditions with this yet.  Usually the kids help me one morning to clean the house and set up the tree and the other Christmas decorations.  They do have a few ornaments of their own that they really enjoy putting on the tree.  They also like to look at my ornaments and ask about the stories behind each one!

I also remember having a candle log with about 30 candles on it and we would do family devotions in the evening and light a new candle each night.  By the time Christmas arrived we had a beautiful tier and a well lit room! I also remember it was set up in the dining room which was a treat in and of itself to sit on Mom’s good chairs!

With our kids we haven’t really done any advent devotional tradition, but we want to.  We do have special Christmas books that we get out each year and read together through the season.  I’d like to make it a habit to do something each day to remember the reason for Christmas.  I think this would also help us not get so caught up in all that has to be done, but remembering why we even celebrate!  It would help us stop and take time for enjoying the season!

I also remember my parents giving us $5 for each of us kids and throughout the season Dad would take us Christmas shopping so that we could buy something for each other, Mom and Dad. I remember we bought a lot of legos for each other!  I do remember how much fun it was to shop and pick out the perfect thing for my brother or sisters.  I also remember how hard it was to keep it a secret because I was so excited to give my gifts, because I knew they were PERFECT!

This year we have decided to take the kids out Christmas shopping for each other.  When I suggested it to Tonchi he couldn’t understand why we would do that.  I told him that Mama and Papa were giving gifts to him and also other people who were important to them.  I asked him if he thought he should give some gifts to people he loved?  He reluctantly agreed.  I definitely think we need to do this!  It is a great way for them to learn it is more blessed to give than receive.  I want them to get excited about what they are giving instead of just what they are getting!

Growing up we used to go as a family to a Christmas tree farm to pick out a tree and cut it down.  I remember  as kids wanted the first one we saw, but it would take FOREVER and we would get so impatient!  Mom and Dad wanted the perfect tree!  It was fun, but I also remember a lot of complaining and asking “Are we done yet?”.

I think we did this for Tonchi’s first Christmas, but he hasn’t since then!  Because of Brian’s up and down job situation it was just an easy way to save money.  I do miss the fresh tree and the pine smell in the house, but it’s ok.  I just burn a pine scented candle instead!  We were able to receive a free fake tree from freecycle and it has served us well.  Eventually I’d like that to change, so maybe it will and maybe it won’t!

As a young girl, I remember going to a Christmas Eve service at my grandparents church.  Only the big kids could stay up for the late night candle lit service!  It was such a privilege to go even if you could hardly keep your eyes open and were exhausted the next day!  We then spent the night at Mim’s house and Santa came to visit!  He knew we were staying there, and besides our house didn’t have a fireplace when we were growing up

This is another thing we haven’t ironed out, but so far we like how it has played out.  We have SO many Christmas celebrations with my Mom’s extended family, Dad’s extended family, my brothers and sisters, Brian’s family… that trying to fit in time as our own family can be hard.  for the last few years we have had a special breakfast.  After enjoying it together and reading the Christmas story together we talk about it and what it means.  Then we open our presents around the Christmas tree.  It hasn’t taken very long in years past, so doing it Christmas morning before visiting family has worked.  As the kids get older we will have to figure something else out, I’m sure!

There were other things we did growing up and other things we would like to do.  I don’t know if these will become traditions, but are definitely activities that are special including seeing the Festival of Lights at Bull Run Park, visiting the National Christmas Tree, going to see a live nativity, driving around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas decorations, going to a Christmas pageant, and so much more.

So what do you do? I’d love to hear of some of your favored traditions!  I’m always up for new ideas!


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