I love our family’s Christmas traditions. As my kids get older and closer to flying the coop, I grasp on to these traditions tighter and tighter. I am sure your family has some neat ones, too. I’m going to share some of ours here in hopes that maybe some of you will post some of yours here as well. Traditions are fun, and they add so much to the anticipation and joy of Christmas.
One of my favorite traditions is when we pile all the kids in the van, and go look at Christmas lights. No one decorates the outdoors with abandon like in the Deep South. We didn’t have to drive far to be completely wowed with the wonderfully gaudy and overdone! We all put on our pajamas, grabbed a cup of hot chocolate, and off we went with Christmas music playing on the radio. This year we actually sat out in front of a house with lights set to music. It was quite a show.
Another fun tradition is making cookies. We love to make reindeer cookies, and other wonderfully decorated sugar cookies. We also cover pretzels in white and milk chocolate with red and green sprinkles. Then we eat them, and share some. If we don’t eat them all, that is.
If you were to ask my kids what their favorite tradition is this time of year, they would probably say the pickle present. Each year there is one present under the tree that belongs to everyone in the family. The label on the gift simply says “pickle”. On Christmas Eve, I hide a pickle shaped ornament somewhere on our Christmas tree and the first child to find it gets to open the pickle present. It’s always something that our family can enjoy together.
Another favorite is our birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve. When my kids were really little, in an attempt to help them understand the true meaning of the season, we started having a birthday party for Jesus. We have a birthday cake, and all kinds of goodies to eat. We sing and spend some time in joyful thanksgiving for our infant king. Now that our kids are much older, we still celebrate Christ’s birth this way.
Whatever your traditions are, I am sure they mean as much to you as ours do to us. For us, and I hope for you as well, the season is about family, fun, and giving. But most of all its about wonderful anticipation of the arrival of that one perfect child born to save us. Ironically he came to dispel long held religious tradition, and bring a new hope to those who had waited for a messiah to save them. But he did not come in the way they had thought he would. They awaited a strong military leader that would take the world by storm. Instead they got a baby. Born in a very nontraditional manner, into a very nontraditional setting.
Our family has broken with tradition in that we prefer some fairly nontraditional music this time of year. The song that has risen to the top of my favorite list this year is “I Celebrate the Day” by Relient K. I hope you’ll take a moment to have a listen… it just might become one of your favorites, too.
Now please take a moment and share some of your family’s traditions of the season. The Bensons (or someone else) might like to swipe some of them for their family!