Christmas Traditions, Part 2: Traditions Past and Present

 Annual Christmas card picture of our children, 2016.

Annual Christmas card picture of our children, 2016.

In case you missed my first post of this series, you can click here to read “The Value of Christmas Traditions With Your Family.” To recap, traditions create an opportunity for families to spend focused time with one another, strengthen your relationships, and lead to thankfulness. They are very valuable.

In this part of the series on traditions, I want to share with you some traditions from my Christmas past and present.

When I was growing up, Christmas morning was a wonderful and magical time with my family. Each year, before seeing what Santa had brought each of us, we would come together as a family and have a time of advent. My mother had a wreath that held four candles to represent the shepherds, angels, wise men, and Jesus. My father typically would read verses that coordinated with each of these pieces of Jesus’ birth story. This was a moment to pause, reflect, and give God glory on the day of His birth.  

 Our children in their matching pajamas.

Our children in their matching pajamas.

Today, we do a similar tradition with our children. Before we let them see what Santa brought Christmas morning, they gather on our stairs and listen to either my husband or me read the Christmas story from the Bible. We have prayer time together afterward and thank God for the gift of Jesus. 

 Collected ornaments on our tree, from the past and present. 

Collected ornaments on our tree, from the past and present. 

Another Christmas tradition from when I was little is when my parents would gift us with an ornament each year. As we got older and started families of our own, they gave us our ornaments to use and to decorate our trees with. Today, we do the same for our children. I write their name and date on each one that is gifted yearly. Also, my mother in law has gifted us Lennox ornaments yearly, making for some very special and beautiful ornaments added in. We also will purchase ornaments while on trips, as a way to recall the memories made at the places we visit. 

One of my favorite traditions from my childhood was when my three siblings and I would join multiple cousins and go to my grandparent’s house to decorate gingerbread houses. My grandfather had made them out of cardboard boxes. He would hand cut and glue all 15 houses. (What an act of love!) I can clearly remember the almost endless bowls of bright candy and my grandmother by the mixer, making royal icing to use for our “glue” to hold the candy on to the house.

 My youngest daugther and her completed gingerbread house.

My youngest daugther and her completed gingerbread house.

Today, my husband and I host this same activity for our children and their cousins. My husband creates the homes just like my grandfather did. (and uses my grandfather’s template!) Since I’m not a wonderful baker, I’ve recruited my mother to be in charge of the icing.  The party includes our children and all their cousins.  We will be hosting this party in a little over a week!

I’m really excited because the last part of this series (next Wednesday) will be me sharing with you all a step-by-step guide for making these special gingerbread houses. We hope you will try it with your own loved ones and start a new tradition! 

I enjoyed sharing these with you today, and it would be a pleasure to hear some of your Christmas past and present traditions too in the comments below.