Christmas Traditions

Matt posted about Christmas traditions this morning. I actually started thinking about them yesterday with Shaun’s day 11 contest over at Bible Geek about favorite Christmas memories.

When I was growing up, we had a silver Christmas tree and it went up year after year after year.  One very similar to this one:

Ours had little felt angels on it though. I’ve mentioned before that my childhood memories are sketchy. I do remember that we waited until Christmas morning to open presents.

After I married Ron, we started on our own set of traditions. I made a different ornament to give as a gift the first 25 years we were married. I only stopped because they started to feel redundant! But I’d make dozens of the ornament and we’d keep some and give the rest as gifts. Some people were disappointed when I stopped 😉 AND we don’t even use them now because, well, I am a jack of all trades and enjoy change.

We always put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and watched White Christmas while doing that. We’ve always had a green tree btw – real or artificial.

Except for one Christmas when we went to Arkansas, we’ve always had Christmas here and invited anyone who wanted to come. Some years we’ve had a very full house with people who were near strangers when they walked in and good friends when they left.

We read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve. This was normally after a candlelight service, but not always. When the boys were home, they read parts of it. This is the one part when I’ve always just been a proud listener. Ron always prays after this. He prays for everyone in the room and every member of our family. This is one of our best traditions and it makes me cry every year. OK, it can make me cry other times of the year too when he’s praying for everyone!

We always opened a present on Christmas eve, but we started opening all the presents on Christmas eve once the mystique of where the presents actually came from was no longer. Stockings are Christmas morning.

No food traditions except that Brandon prefers stove top stuffing, and if he’s hear, I pop open that box.

Now that Ron and I are empty nesters, things are a little different each year. Last year we spent Christmas at the beach with Brandon and my sister. This year we are heading out the day after for a short trip. We still read the Christmas story (I still listen) and Ron still prays for all of our family (where ever they are that night).

Now, I’d love to hear about your Christmas traditions!

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One thought on “Christmas Traditions

  1. Bitsy,

    Sounds like you have a nice set of Christmas traditions. The pictures sure are nice.

    My “traditions” are a little hard to explain. Growing up we had Santa in the morning. Ok, it was more like in the middle of the night. My parents went all out and probably did not get to be until around 2:00 or 3:00 AM only to awakened at 5:30 or 6:00 AM. My brothers and I would all sleep in one bedroom. We would wake up around 4ish and would spend an hour or so doing spy missions into the den attempting to see what we could in the dark. One Christmas, I don’t remember what year, we listened to a Tom Petty album while we did this. When my parents got up they would have to pretend to be happy and surprised. Even when I figured out who Santa really was (when I found a gift under their bed) we kept up the show for my youngest brother. After Santa had wore off, we would open gifts.

    Christmas night the entire family would go to my grandmother’s house for dinner and gifts. In the later years, we still did the Santa thing (again for my youngest brother) though the Christmas mornings got a bit later and the Santa thing was much smaller. When my grandmother could no longer live by herself, everyone came to our house on Christmas night.

    Nowadays Christmas is a much more toned down event. Because one of my brothers is engaged to a woman with a small child, we have two Christmases. One with him, his fiance, and the little boy (last weekend) and another with me, my parents, and my other brother. The gifts have become more token in nature. After my grandmother passed in 2000, the larger family unit had a big falling out over money/land. Therefore the family Christmas gatherings have ended.

    I have started my own little Christmas tradition. I attend Christmas Eve Service at my church. It only lasts 30 minutes, but I really enjoy it each year. In a way, it has become my Christmas. The older I get, the more focused I become on the meaning of Christmas.

    Having said that I am aware that my parents will probably not be around much longer. Though they are only in their late 50s, neither is in really good health. They both function and stuff, but I can’t see them living into their late 70s or 80s. So I always try to enjoy them as much as I can. I’m not sure if either of them are saved. I have tried and I have prayed, but nothing happens. I gave them my Charles Stanley Bible, books, cards, and I have talked to them. Honestly it is sometimes like talking to a brick wall. My mother “might” be saved, but she does not go to church. So I also use this time of year to focus on Christ in Christmas, without preaching a sermon.

    Sorry for being so wordy, I got carried away!

    Merry Christmas to you and your entire family. And may God richly bless each and every one of you in the New Year (can it really be 2010?).

    In Christ,
    Martin.

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