Christmas is just days away, and as I prepare for us to be together, I’ve been thinking about our family traditions. Some I have carried over from my childhood days, and some are newer that started with my own family. I think traditions are important. They establish a sense of belonging and togetherness. They provide meaning to our time together, and I look forward to them and cherish them.
For our family, our Christmas traditions begin with buying our Christmas tree. We get a live tree every year, and I love going and walking the tree lot looking for just the right tree. My husband hates it, and eventually quit going with us. Bah humbug! But the boys and I still go each year to multiple lots looking for the biggest, tallest tree that we can squish into our house. We decorate as a family. We choose one night and we get the tree completely decorated. Our tree is a combination of ornaments we have received as gifts, souvenirs from our travels, and dated ornaments symbolizing important dates in our family.
Another tradition we have is to go to Braums and get holiday ice cream. Eggnog and peppermint flavors are my favorites with gingerbread coming in third. We usually have a night or two of driving around looking at Christmas lights while eating ice cream. We attend our Christmas Eve service at church every year. My Christmas is not complete without Silent Night being sung by the congregation in complete candlelight. Brings me to tears every time.
We always have our Christmas goodies that we eat and bake only at Christmas time. Since the boys were really little, we always bake and decorate Christmas cookies. There is flour everywhere, frosting on every finger, and sprinkles all over the floor. Those memories will stay with me a lifetime, and even when the boys are grown and gone, I will continue the tradition with my grandkids. And finally, we always read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. My husband reads it and my youngest gets so tickled that we are all laughing by the end. It’s just because of the way my husband “dramatically” reads the book. But we do it every year, and every year it’s just as funny.
This year will be different in a lot of ways, but our traditions will help us maintain some normalcy. If you don’t have traditions in your family, this is the perfect time to start some. Maybe start small and go with one new tradition. If you’ve lost a loved one this year, start a tradition of remembrance that will help you celebrate this person each year. What about making a donation for so many families that are in need? This could be your gift to someone else as a thank you, a sign of gratitude, a sign of “I see you”. Your traditions can be anything that is meaningful to you, and in return, they will give meaning to others.
Until next time,