We're kicking off our fun old fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols. ~Clark Griswold
Holiday tradition. It's been on my mind a lot lately. Even though the girls are so young, and won't remember anything about this Christmas, we want to establish our own meaningful traditions now, so we can put them into practice. We're not looking for our home to be mistakenly thought to be ablaze due to mass quantities of Christmas lights, nor do we want our girls to be frozen from the waist down all for the sake of the experience of uprooting our Christmas tree from a forest--we just want the girls to have fond memories of our family Christmas that authentically celebrates the birth of Jesus, and isn't wrapped up in scoring loot.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Brad and I decided that, even though we will, most likely, always be out of town on Thanksgiving, we would prepare our own Thanksgiving feast for just our family. I love cooking, and trying out new recipes--this tradition is right up my alley. I very much look forward to when the girls can get in on the action! Check. We've got that holiday all wrapped up. Next up--Christmas.
This morning I was reading over here about memories. If you ask someone to remember a bad memory, it's almost always a specific instance. Contrarily, if you ask someone to recall a good memory, it is most often wrapped up in a tradition.
Thinking back to my childhood, I have so many wonderful Christmas memories wrapped up in the five senses, and many of them were indeed part of our family traditions--the cinnamon taste of my mama's warm, gooey bubble bread (monkey bread to many of you) on Christmas morning, the sparkle of the lights that we drove around to look at every Christmas eve, the feeling of swelling in my chest of pure joy at the wonder of this special time, the sound of my papa praying and reading from the Bible, and the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, citrus, mint and chocolate swirling around in the air.
I love that my most vivid memories of Christmas are not about stuff. Yes, we did receive presents. Santa did come to our house. As the oldest of five kids, and my youngest sister 11 years my junior, Santa made appearances in our house for many years. I admit, I did get gleeful when I saw my bulging stocking hanging from our stair banister, even long after Santa morphed into my parents. But our Christmas wasn't all about the presents. We didn't mail letters to Santa. It was never about making a list of wants. Our Christmas was about family. It was about enjoying good food together. It was about spending time with my brother and sisters in our pajamas until well after noon. It was about bundling up and going outside to play in the snow. It was about worshiping our Father by loving one another and spending a good day together.
My prayer is that my daughters cherish the time we spend together as a family and the gift of that day, because of Jesus' birth. I pray that they learn the gift of charity, and have a heart for giving to others. I recently learned of an organization that would be perfect for kids to contribute to called The Dinner Garden. It buys seeds to give to families, so that they can plant gardens. You can feed a family for five dollars! That's completely doable for a kid with an allowance! Not the point of this, but I'm thrilled to know things like that are available.
When I started out writing this, my intention was to write about Christmas ornaments, and then I saw this lovely lady's post, and thought I'd link up my finished product there. I even took pictures of some of my Christmas ornaments. I might still have another post to write, but this is what I came up with for now. These are my meandering thoughts. How do you make Christmas special in your home? I'd love to hear your ideas!