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Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Christmas is a favorite family holiday, right above birthdays. We decorate big, plan lots of fun things, and more than any other holiday we spend lots of time just being together.

My oldest asked us last night what was our favorite Christmas tradition. We all had more than one.

Here are some that made everyone's list...

Baking Christmas cookies. Funny thing was that not only do my kids remember the family time and fun, but they also talk about why we do this massive baking project every year. We bake most of the 15- 20 dozen cookies for neighbors, teachers, co-workers, and friends.

The Advent calendar and wreath. Long ago, when my oldest was little the Advent calendar was her absolute favorite tradition. She'd rush downstairs to the living room just so she could put the Baby Jesus in the manger bed Christmas morning. We still do this first thing. But now three sets of little hands lovingly put the Baby Jesus up on the calendar.

Singing or performing a skit on Christmas Eve. Ever since my middle daughter was about two, we've done something related to the Christmas story for family that gathers at our house the day before Christmas.

My girls have written and enacted the entire story from Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem to the birth of Jesus. That year all the adults were in tears as our oldest "delivered" the baby with sound effects and an explanation of what happened.

The girls have also recited my favorite Christmas book~ This is the Star~ and other poems, performed Silent Night in sign language, and We Three (Queens) of Orient Are.

This is one of my favorite traditions because my daughters get so excited about ways to tell the story of Jesus and make their family laugh in the process.

Another tradition is new family and individual ornaments for each year. This is a tradition passed down from my family and one that's very special to me. Each year we choose a family ornament and then each of our girls pick out something that signifies an important event for the past year. We have Elmo with a drum for the year our youngest loved the furry red Sesame Street character. And we have ballet dresses, ballet shoes, horses, and crayon box ornaments.

My favorite ornaments are the ones that signify the years my girls each asked Jesus into their hearts. There's a princess ornament this year to show my youngest is now a child of the King.

Just thinking about our family traditions leaves me a little misty eyed. And in awe of how much I have to be thankful for.

At the top of that thankful list aren't the Christmas decorations, cookies, or traditions. But all of those are reminders to me and to my family of the real reason for the season...

The baby who was born to die and rise again.


The Light of the world more powerful and beautiful than any holiday decoration.

The Bread of life more nourishing and sweet than any holiday treat~ even chocolate.

What about you all? What are your favorite traditions and how to they point you back to the heart of Christmas?

1 comment:

Vicki said...

Hi Amy. I love Christmas too! My favorite tradition is probably lighting the Advent wreath. Also, a newer tradition, especially now that I'm a grandma, is hosting our Gaines Girls Christmas Tea followed by cookie antics in the kitchen. Sending and receiving cards has always been a joy, and especially writing our family newsletter. I usually tape our Christmas cards & newsletters to the back of the front door, so we're reminded of all our friends and family, coming and going, and also pray for each of the families represented by the cards we've received.

Your girls must bring you so much joy! Love that precious photo.


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