Family Christmas Traditions
Christmas is a great time to enjoy old traditions and even consider establishing new ones. Some traditions start by accident, and you don't even realize they are a tradition until someone says, "but what about "such and such" tradition? Then you realize you had another one! I love it when its a child that says this, because you know it means a lot to them.
Our family Christmas traditions have changed some of course over the years from when I was a child to where my children are in the teen years now. That is common and understandable. You can always enjoy the memories of older traditions.
One of our very favorite traditions is making treats at Christmas and this includes cookies and fudge and homemade hot chocolate! Its especially meaningful when we pass them out to neighbors and friends and often those may be lonely at Christmas time. We find elderly people in nursing homes to give them too and this is very rewarding to know you made someone happy. The nursing homes we have done this with, match us up with people that have been recommended to us or we know of friends family members who are always so grateful.
Christmas Cards is high on our family's list of "Christmas must do's". We love to send Christmas cards and display the ones we receive. This is a must. The other absolute must, is to watch Christmas Vacation (and a few others) sometime during the holiday season. We laugh and have the best time with movies like that.
Caroling is a Christmas tradition that has slowed down over the years, and I hope that it never dies! Even if its cold, and sometimes when it is especially cold out, people really enjoy the caroling and the kids and adults all have a great time. I know that if we get carolers it is an extra special treat! I can't stop smiling and want to sing along and offer cookies, etc. If you get a chance to do it, I would highly recommend it.
Working up towards Christmas Eve
On or around Christmas Eve, one of our multi generational traditions includes visiting family. Usually it is the grandparents house where everyone congregates. When I think back on these times, I literally feel so happy and have the best memories! My cousins and aunts and uncles would all get together to share lots of good food and often gifts. I loved Christmas Eve for this reason above all others.
Coming home after that and reading the Night before Christmas, after watching any of the favorite old Christmas movies that were on is right up there with favorite Christmas Traditions! Of course, you have to finish wrapping any last minute gifts sometime that night as well. Having my Aunt Donna spend the night every Christmas is a true favorite tradition that we only recently outgrew, but we still carried this on into our adult years. She is a great person and added a lot to our holiday every year!
When we were especially young, and then again when our children were young, we would run outside and look for Santa Claus' sleigh shining in the night. This is when the children were young enough to really still believe in Santa, before they outgrew it, so it was truly magical. So much so, it was hard to fall asleep!
My Aunt Donna also always got us a new ornament on Christmas Eve, while my grandmother always got us a new Lanz Flannel Nightgown. Now we do this for our kids, though usually just one or the other, but its fun to get to open something up on Christmas Eve!
Some "Religious" Observance
We are not really the "religious types", but there is a really neat candle light service at our church, where people get together for a short message and Christmas songs. Everyone gets a candle, and during one of the songs, with the lights very low, one person's lit candle starts to light the person's next to them. (They have hand protectors on the candles so they don't drip, its very safe.) Before long, the bright candle lit room is glowing so beautifully! Its not a long service, and before long we are back home.
The other thing that we do is put out our Nativity scenes. We have them in many forms, like a wooden puzzle, ceramic, ornaments, candle holders, etc. I realized that over time, were getting a collection of them. So they call come out and they are so beautiful and cause us to appreciate and remember what the season is all about.
Christmas Stockings and Presents
We wake up on Christmas morning, usually by the child that wakes up first, as you can imagine! I have the coffee ready to go, because the kids can't wait to open the presents. Now the thing we do next might surprise you, but the kids insist on it now. That is to read a version of the Christmas Story, the Nativity about baby Jesus and miracles surrounding his birth. Nothing long, just very special and we have Christmas music playing lightly.
We have our beagle Molly near by, for she gets a few presents too in her stocking, and she loves her presents.
Kids and parents take turn wearing a Santa hat as they want to and pass out the presents. This seems to be one of the most favorite points of all of Christmas. The special morning itself. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Lots of pictures and smiles, we just love it. The grand finale on Christmas morning is the retrieving of the stockings from the fireplace mantle. This always is so fun.
Later, its off to Grandma and Grandpas for our traditional biscuits and gravy breakfast. This is a traditions that is at least a half a century old! Its an old southern recipe with sausage gravy that tastes like heaven for some reason.
Now you have an idea what our family's traditions are at Christmas. Its a magical time and I am so grateful for it.