Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten Christmas Traditions


I love every single thing about this time of the year. The sights, the smells, the sounds are meaningful to me. To be honest, Dan is not big into traditions and most of our family traditions have been implemented by me. That's okay though because I just view it as part of my role as a wife and mother.

Here are ten traditions we have established in our home....

1. Ornaments. Every year we purchase an ornament for each child with their name and date on it. We will keep them until they set up homes of their own and then they will receive all their ornaments from the time they were born until the present.

2. Jesse Tree. We started this about 6 years ago and do it every year. We do a daily devotional and then hang an ornament on our Jesse Tree. It's a wonderful way to trace the genealogy of Jesus and celebrate advent.

3. Tree trimming day. The day after Thanksgiving we pull out all the Christmas decorations and decorate the tree together as a family. I make Christmas cookies and hot cocoa and we play Christmas music.

4. Christmas movies. Starting Thanksgiving day we order Christmas movies from the library and watch them throughout the Christmas season. Some of our favorites: Jingle All the Way, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, A Christmas Story, Christmas with the Kranks, and It's a Wonderful LIfe.

5. Christmas shopping. Each year Dan takes the kids out Christmas shopping for each other and for me and then I'll take them out to get Dan's gift. They look forward to doing this and enjoy picking out the presents and coming home and wrapping them.

6. Special services. Because we are so active in ministry there are many things we are involved in at church that we look forward to each year. The children's Christmas program, lighting of the Advent candles, Christmas baskets for struggling families, and our Christmas Eve candlelight service.

7. Gingerbread house. Each year I buy a kit and let the kids decorate the house.

8. Special meals. On Christmas eve we always have platters of finger foods and sparkling cider. The kids love this and look forward to it each year. Christmas morning is a special breakfast and then of course, the main meal. We usually pick an unusual meal for Christmas day. Generally, it will be a particular country and we make food indicative of that country. After Thanksgiving, we are ready for something different than turkey.

9. Gifts. On Christmas day we each take turns opening a gift. This way we can enjoy what each person has gotten as well as making the day last longer. My children have done this since they were little. I never liked the idea of everyone ripping into their gifts at once. As they've gotten older, we've been able to stretch it out throughout the morning, taking a break about midway through.

10. Christmas letter. We started this a few years ago and each year we write a Christmas letter to the children. This is a personal letter letting them know how much we love them and the strengths we've seen in them over the past year.

Those are some of our traditions. Do you have any special traditions that you follow?