Wow, I’ve never been asked to be a guest blogger before...I’m honored and suddenly at a loss for words. As I think back on all of my family holiday traditions, I realize that some have come and gone and other traditions have continued throughout the years. One of my favorites was when my mom would bake Christmas sugar cookies and my brother and I would help frost them. Of course, I was never good at frosting cookies and it’s a skill that I actually never acquired. Maybe Angie could offer some pointers.
Every Christmas Eve as a child was spent at my grandparents’ house. To me, that was almost as
exciting as Christmas morning except we had to wait until after dinner to open presents and the grown-ups seemed to eat as slow as snails. (I still remember that every time I tell my daughter, “Wait until after I’m finished eating.” Those memories are especially fond this year as we lost my grandfather this past January. I’m fairly certain that he had every Christmas Eve recorded on his enormous camcorder. On our way home, my brother and I would look for Santa’s sleigh in the sky and I could swear that we saw him a few times. Every year, we had the annual picture in front of the Christmas tree.
Actually, now that I think of it, my parents still insist on a picture of all of us in front of the Christmas tree.
My parents always made Christmas so special and magical while always reminding us what Christmas is really all about, the celebration of Jesus’s birth.
Once you get married, those traditions and blessings multiply. As newlyweds, my husband and I
attempted to create some of our own traditions. . .like, placing a candy cane on the tree for each Christmas we’ve been together and a bell for each year we’ve been married. One year we realized that we had forgotten the words to Frosty The Snowman, so we vowed to learn at least 2 Christmas carols each year. Unfortunately, I still forget the words by the next time Christmas rolls around and our tree no longer has the correct amount of bells and candy canes. Sometimes traditions are a work in progress. When you become a parent, however, you experience your traditions through your child’s eyes and that makes them all the more cherished. Every year
my 4 year old daughter, Olivia, receives a carved ornament from her grandpa ofsomething special from that year just as my husband received as a child. What an amazing way to look back at your childhood!
I wonder, however, what exactly is a tradition? Webster’s dictionary defines a tradition as an inherited, established or customary pattern of thought, action or behavior. I say that a tradition can also be a beautiful memory recreated over and over again. They are those meaningful things that we anticipate each year, those things that make my daughter smile so brightly that I want to do them every year. They are unique to each family and make this time of year so special. Not
all traditions, however, can be anticipated. I decorated my son’s grave this afternoon who passed away a little over 4 years ago. Putting out his Christmas tree, Christmas flowers, and a stuffed
bear has become a tradition in our family, yet it’s one I wish I didn’t have. It is a tradition, however, that I will carry out through the rest of my days.
I recently read an article about the two things children most remember about growing up. . . family vacations and holiday traditions. Wow. So, make it count and make it special! We recently started a family devotional called The Children’s Nativity by Marti McCartney (a local author.) Each day, you build up your manger scene and move Mary and Joseph closer and closer to the stable. After your children go to bed on Christmas Eve, you place baby Jesus in the manger to be found Christmas morning. Wouldn’t that be awesome if your child’s anticipation was not just for the presents under the tree, but for the baby in the manger? I’m hoping this can become
a very memorable tradition. What are your family’s special traditions? Please share them in the comments section below and enjoy those special moments with your family as you celebrate the birth of our Savior.