Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Celebrating together with a couple of our closest friends the Tuesday night before Christmas reminded me of how difficult it can be sometimes to merge two family holiday traditions together. Especially when it comes to Christmas.

Decorations. Ornaments. Food. Celebrations. Timing. Travel.

Family gatherings {which family on which day?}. Opening presents {Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?}. Stockings {wrap or don't wrap?}.

Some of my favorite traditions now are the combinations of family traditions, although to be honest my family's traditions are still my absolute fav. :)

My family always gets together on a time other than Christmas. We always set aside a time though for our "Christmas Eve" and "Christmas Day" to make it special.

Growing up, we always put the tree up over Thanksgiving weekend {unless it was real, then it was closer to Christmas}, then lay on a blanket in front of the tree with candles {don't worry, not right next to the tree!} and sing through a booklet of our favorite Christmas carols each night leading up to Christmas.

Dad & I made homemade pizza & dough for supper on Christmas Eve. My brother was always the last to finish wrapping gifts right up to the time we opened them. We read the Bible Christmas story together. Then we sang through our booklet of favorite carols together. And then it was opening presents time!

When we were really little and played the Santa game, mom would pull out the gifts from Santa after we were in bed and put them under the tree. She'd always stay up past us and fill our stockings. That tradition continued until we moved out of the house. Now each year our family doesn't just exchange gifts, we also buy a little stocking stuffer for each family member - I love it!!

Also now, mom makes her homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs. We read the Christmas story from Luke together to start our Christmas Eve each year. This year my niece Olivia read the entire thing and it was so sweet. Mom prays over us all and the evening. We sing Christmas carols together... after my brother & I sometimes try to hide the booklets {none of us can sing very well, try as we might, and it's so off-tune sometimes bro & I catch each other's eye and have to stiffle our giggles... and last year we tried hiding the booklets in the fridge}!

My nieces and I always make a gingerbread house together each year on our Christmas Day.

My favorite place in all the world to be is mom's house over Christmas. She does such an extraordinary job decorating and making it feel special and homey, and her house is so relaxing and like a little getaway. I love just staring out over the lake. At wintertime it's nice to see the ice

Tim's family always has a birthday cake for Jesus and we sing happy birthday to Jesus. It's always been together with Tim's family on Christmas Day. We used to get together late morning to exchange gifts and we used to include a grab bag gift game. It's all much more up in the air the past few years, and there's not really any set thing. We usually only buy for the kids of family members in the area - otherwise it'd be pretty crazy with Tim's 10 siblings and 27+ nieces & nephews.

It took us several years, a lot of trial and error, and sometimes still some miscommunication or disappointment comes as we try to solidify our own little family traditions. But without kids, it's hard to feel like we really have a plan or nail down much of anything.

What about you? Any major challenges you've faced together as you nail down your own traditions and figure out what to do between your two families?


Anonymous said...

It's still hard for us to figure it all out but this year was a perfect mix of time with each family and time with just our little family unit at home. Think we will keep perfecting with time.....hopefully! :)

Rachel Jones said...

Sorry that was me not Joe :)