This week, I’m going to talk a bit about Holiday Traditions. If you’ve followed along the last few weeks, you should be on a kind of auto-pilot mode where you’re working on things like:
*Finishing up your decorating.
*Taking small chunks from your holiday card/newsletter list and addressing envelopes.
*Gift shopping for friends and family and picking up grocery items needed for those big events like cookie exchanges, parties you’re hosting and parties you’re attending. As a side-note here, I hope you never accept a party invitation and show up empty-handed. (?) Even if your host says, “Just bring yourselves!” You should still bring something small…a simple dessert, a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, etc.
This is the beauty of starting these Holiday Missions so early in the season. By now, you should be feeling “ready” for the remaining events of the year. If this is your first time doing this with me, I hope it’s been worth pushing yourself through each week and making plans FAR in advance. I know, it’s hard to start thinking about Christmas in October but isn’t it worth it now?! Even if you’re a little behind…get caught up this week and sail through the next few weeks stress-free! Here’s a link to last week’s Missions to help you stay on track.
We all have them. Some were probably started as we were kids and maybe we’re using those with our own kids. We have likely picked up a few along the way as well. Some traditions last for a lifetime, while others may be just for a few seasons due to whatever circumstances. When we lived in Germany, it was fun to adopt their most common traditions but we don’t do them now. It was fun at the time though.
Here are a few of our family’s favorite traditions:
- When our son was growing up, we never placed any gifts under the tree except those that came via USPS from extended relatives. When he woke up Christmas morning, ALL of the gifts were there under the tree and most were usually wrapped by mom and dad during the wee hours of the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning after he had finally gone to bed! Even though he lives in another state now and on his own, we continue this tradition when he IS with us for the holiday and he laughs as we squeal with delight as he emerges from the bedroom…”Look! Santa came!” As gifts are passed out, it’s fun to read who the gift is supposedly from…sometimes of course it’s Santa, sometimes Rudolph, sometimes Mom & Dad, and who knows who else…the family pets are not exempt from giving all of us gifts either.
- On Christmas Eve or a couple of nights before Christmas, we always enjoyed driving around all the big neighborhoods to look at the lights.
- Going to church on Christmas Eve for the candlelight service is always special.
- We always look forward to watching several of the sappy Christmas shows on TV, especially “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story.”
- There was a period of time, for several years, that I lived with my older sister & her family when I was in Jr. and Sr. High School & she always made a birthday cake for Jesus. Christmas morning, we would all sing Happy Birthday and remember why we were celebrating.
- Reading “T’was the Night Before Christmas” to our son on Christmas Eve and the days leading up to it.
- We have an Advent calendar to help count down the days. There’s a star hanging from a string that slips into the pocket for each day counting down. It’s fun to watch as the star rise higher and higher into the sky each day.
- We always open our gifts one at a time, taking our time to fully appreciate the thought that went into the gift and seeing what each person gets. Although, one tradition we’re trying to break is the one where my husband and I already know what we’re giving each other and still wrapping it up and pretending to be excited in front of our son.
Here’s a tradition passed on from a dear friend of ours (Cindy):
“Our family gathers in the family room after dishes are done and we give each person a pen and paper to write what they are thankful for. We then put them in a bowl and a designated person pulls one from the bowl and reads it. We all then try to guess who wrote it. Then that person who wrote it elaborates a bit on why they wrote what they did. We all come away feeling like we know a little more about each person attending.” How cool would that be if you were spending the holidays with people you don’t know really well or when new family members are joining?!
I found an excellent book on Amazon called, “The Joy of Family Traditions – A Season by Season Companion to Celebrations, Holidays and Special Occasions.” If you’re looking for new traditions or just wanting to add some fun alternatives to what your family already does, Check it out if you’d like. As the title suggests, it doesn’t cover just Christmas either…it covers seasonal celebrations and every occasion you might think of in addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it’s handy for all year!
This week, I’m going to post a new tradition each day based on comments left by my readers. But, in order for this to work, I need YOU to post a comment telling me one of your favorite or most memorable traditions so I can continue to post and share the great traditions that make the holidays such a special time for all of us. Without these traditions…just imagine what the holidays would be like. Now, don’t be shy. Hit that “Comment” button and share away!