Friday, December 2, 2011


Traditions. I'm finally realizing how important they are, especially to kids. Growing up Christmas always had a few traditions in my family. Fist, we always went to my Granny's house for Christmas Eve. The train, an old Lionel train set, was always out for the evening, and usually involved quite a bit of coaxing and fixing to get it to work properly. It always ad a certain old locomotive-liquid smoke smell to it.

My Granny always had a white flocked Christmas tree, decorated with red Cardinal birds, harkening her back to Kentucky, or so she said. And though she was rather confined to a state of being less mobile and on oxygen, she still commanded and had an opinion on every ornament and bird placed on that tree, in a nearly scary way. As a child, this evening took forever because it was very methodically organized: first we'd arrive, and talk, talk, talk and finally we'd eat. Then the kids would all sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, even though I don't think my Grandma was a believer or even remotely religious! And out of the freezer would come some snowballs. I haven't a clue where shed' purchase them, but they were a ball of vanilla ice cream covered with white coconut and topped with a fake holly and ivy sprig that held the candle so we could sing to Baby Jesus and blow out our candle. After that, it was present time, but it was all excruciatingly slow!

Likewise, we alway received pajamas on Christmas Eve to wear to bed that night, and in the morning Santa always arrived and we'd play and enjoy the morning until it was time to go to my Grandma's home for the other side of my family's celebration.

A few years ago I stumbled on Elf on the Shelf and we now have an Elf named Gabriel that visits every December. He hides and shows up somewhere new every morning. My kids so enjoy waking up and finding him and what crazy antics he's gotten into. Last year I purchased a Nativity set from Africa and my kids love to look at it and see Baby Jesus. Every year we help decorate my inlaws tree and I take photos and we have soup and enjoy hanging out together. It pretty much signifies the start of Christmas, and is a tradition we all look forward to.

This year we put our lights and tree up days before December 1st and it's been so enjoyable! Our stockings are hung, Christmas Decorations out, Advent calendar stocked with candy and goodies. We're set.

The week before Thanksgiving I saw a tweet from Compassion International linking a website that was donating proceeds to their oganization for all those who purchased a "Cradle to the Cross" wreath. Intrigued I looked into it and kinda on an impulse, placed an order. You can check out the website HERE. . It's a wood spiral with holes to hold a candle. Every day you move the candle and the wood Mary sitting on a donkey, on hole forward. For my family, we wanted to have a lot of lighted candles, so we stocked the whole thing with candles and will light an additional one each day in December. It's only the second day but already it's a highlight of the evening meal where we light the next candle for the duration of dinner.

Traditions. It feels so good to have traditions and hope that it creates a strong and sweet memory, as well as reinforce our Christian faith and reflect on what Christmas truly means. .

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