It’s a time of peace, giving, and celebration. As I finalize all of my Christmas preparations, I begin to reflect on Christmases past. Although the excitement of creating new memories is something I look forward to each year, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without the traditions that have been passed on throughout the years.
Celebrating with Traditions
As a young child, my family held a number of holiday traditions that seemed to make Christmas a little bit more special. These days, I celebrate those same traditions with my husband and our seven children, and I wouldn’t give them up for the world. Here are just a few of the holiday traditions we practice.
Every Christmas Eve, each member of the family is allowed to open one gift after supper. The entire family sits around the tree as the gifts are passed to their recipients. Although the children each know that the beautifully decorated package will contain a new set of pajamas to wear on Christmas morning, the excitement remains. It’s like the “kick-off” of our celebration.
On Christmas Eve as a child, my mother would sit us all down and we would read a special Christmas story together. Although we had all heard the story many times before, we looked forward to hearing it again each year. That same story is told to my own family these days.
After the story, the younger children sit around the window with binoculars in search of Santa Claus and his reindeer. We often turn on the news to hear updated reports on Santa’s location, and look for it on the map.
An assortment of holiday cookies and a mug of hot cocoa or coffee is placed on a serving tray beside the tree each year for Santa to find as he delivers our gifts.
Christmas morning begins early for our family. The children wait in anticipation as a home cooked holiday breakfast is prepared. We include special treats like funnel cake or homemade tarts to start our morning off right.
Each year, one member of our family is chosen to complete a “treasure hunt” for a special gift. Nobody knows who the lucky person will be until Christmas morning. A “trail” of clues is placed throughout the house, and weather permitting, even outside. The chosen person follows the clues until he or she (hopefully) finds the “treasure”.
The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without the assortment of holiday treats and the festive dinner we all enjoy so much. We prepare a turkey and a ham for the main course, and add side dishes like candied sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, and homemade macaroni and cheese to complete the meal. For dessert, we have apple bread, apple crisp, and an assortment of homemade holiday candies.
At night, we all settle in and watch a favorite holiday movie and cherish each others’ company.
Many of our friends celebrate with unique traditions as well. One family I know spends the day volunteering to help prepare and serve dinner to those who are less fortunate. Another chooses to “adopt” a family who is going through tough times each holiday season, and they purchase food items and gifts to help make things a little brighter. Do you have special holiday traditions you’d like to share with us?
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