Traditions are not something that I had growing up. We did not do anything consecutively over the years. Instead each year held a new and exciting thrill to it. Were would we get our tree? would we buy one from the store or go to the farm and cut it down? Were we going to eat as a family at dinner or in our bedrooms in front of the TV? Would we have family visiting or friends or would it just be us? Who knew from year to year what to expect. I am not putting down the Christmas's I had growing up, I am thankful for each and every one of them. When it comes down to it Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ, not all the hoop la we have made it over the years. That being said, I am still a sucker for the holiday and I wanted to start family traditions with my children that hopefully will carry on with my grandchildren and generations to come. I always envied families with little traditions and I had wished my mom was more of a traditional mom that cared about things like that, but she simply was not. So when my kids were born I decided to start little traditions for the holidays. But,since this is Christmas, that is the one I will focus on here today.
I love the smell of Christmas Trees and so after my eldest son, Munchkin, was born I decided that we would find a Christmas Tree Farm and start picking out and cutting down our own tree. There is a farm out in Quinlan that has beautiful trees and we go there every year. They offer hay rides, hot coco, Santa pics, all the simply joys of Christmas. As I had more children (3) we have continued this tradition. The kids take turn picking out the tree each year. One picks and anther cuts and another drags the tree to the car. This way everyone gets to participate and know they did there part. The kids love this and look forward to it every year. The only stipulation that is put on the tree picking is a price tag. I have issues paying more than $75 for a tree and I wont. This last year we had to go out to Yesterland Farms to get our tree, because of the drought our normal tree place did not have a good year and the trees were horribly flimsy and expensive
We love to decorate the house and each year the kids pick out what lights we will hang, were we will put up decorations in the house. What type of wreath we will make, etc. As you may be able to tell I let the kids run the show in this area. The last couple of years they have made little lego nativity scenes to place around the house. They also started to collect the little candy cane shaped yard decorations and each year they add one to what we have. For the tree, we have made a tradition on how its decorated. This came more out of necessity than anything else really. My youngest always wants to do the top, but obviously cannot reach and my others, well they want to take over! So I had to design something that would work for everyone. This is what I came up with. My eldest, and tallest, gets the top of the tree-minus the star. My middle one gets the middle of the tree and my youngest takes the bottom. This way everyone gets to decorate they way they want to in there own area. The star has always been put on by my daughter since she was born, minus when my youngest was born, we had him put it on that year! The lights are done by me every year so I can get in on the action and just between us, so there not clumped together in one spot! The kids decide if they want to add tinsel,snow, or anything else to the tree as well. Each year the kids also get one decoration each that they pick out for them and they put there name on it and year. That way I can see how there interests have grown and changed over the years. Needless to say our tree is interesting, but its our and I LOVE IT!
The outside lights, the kids pick out how they want them arranged and what colors to use, but I hang them up. I don't like the idea of my kids hanging on the house with nails and a hammer...scares me.
Family and Friends:
I have this little pet peeve that I resent my mom for growing up. I never knew my relatives. I didn't get to go visit them, or have them over for the holidays and because of that we are not close now as adults. For that reason it is very important to me that our families get together with relatives and friends for the holidays. We go every other year to Minnesota, were my family is from and most still live, so my kids know there great aunts and uncles and cousins and grand parents. To see them building those bonds bring such great joy to my life. The other years we spend at home and get together with my brothers, mom and nephews. This way the kids have the full family experience no matter what year we are in. We always love inviting friends to come over that may not have family or are unable to make it home for the holidays, or are not able to afford to really make a holiday meal for themselves and family as well. We should all be able to celebrate Christ's birth together, regardless of what we do or do not have.
AHHH one of the best parts about the holidays. We always do a small turkey and a small ham, both on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have a pretty traditional meal; stuffing, mash potatoes, giblet gravy, lots of veggies, green bean casserole, corn, cranberry sauce, rolls, etc. The only real tradition we have for food is from when my daughter was a little girl she loved for me to buy those bottle of juice shaped like wine bottles. She thought she was so grown up! Which is funny, considering I don't drink! So every year we buy 2 of these bottle and we open one on Christmas day and one on New Years, just for me and her.
We are starting a new tradition of buying each other four gifts for Christmas...something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. I saw this on a friends blog and thought it was wonderful! A great way not to get over commercialized and buy way too much also! Lets keep our eye and heart on the True meaning of Christmas......
The true reason for the holiday! We love to spend time in reading our Bible, attending Christmas service, and just having time with our Savoir reflecting on all that He has done in our lives and continues to do.
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel "—which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:18-25
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:1-14
So that's our family Christmas traditions,what is yours?