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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Family Traditions

There is something about family traditions that not only makes for special memories, but also bonds family members together. This is "their" menu, "their" way to celebrate. It connects them in blood and heart. Someone said, "Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world."

My family has quite a few traditions - all through the year and at Christmastime. If I ever suggested varying from the tradition there would be an uproar in the ranks! One tradition is that my husband and I hang our "First Christmas Together" ornament (pictured) on the tree together and then kiss. While our girls were disgusted with that while they were little, they expected it to happen each year!

Another tradition we started when our girls were little was "The Twelve Days of Christmas". It began one year when we realized we'd been so busy that we never had the chance to sit down and enjoy the lights and the tree. So we created our own version of The twelve days (who wants eight maids a milking anyway?). We started shopping early in the year for each other - just the two of us. We'd find things on sale and tuck them away. Then on the 12th of December, after the girls were in bed, we'd get a little snack and eat it in front of the tree, and then exchange one gift. By the time Christmas came, we'd had twelve nights of relaxation, time together and a special exchange of a gift between just the two of us.

Even though our girls weren't a part of this tradition, they couldn't wait until the next morning to see what we'd given each other. In a way it was their tradition, because it happened in their family and they knew their parents loved each other and wanted to spend time together. As the previous quote said, it provided "something steady and reliable in a confusing world."

If you don't have any traditions in your family, think about integrating one into Christmas this year. If you can't do the twelve days of Christmas, try something else. Here are a few other suggestions:
  • Serve the same menu for Christmas brunch, perhaps a coffee cake and special beverage.

  • Read the Christmas story from Luke before opening presents.

  • Go caroling together in your neighborhood on Christmas Eve.

  • Take a family picture in the same spot in your home every year on Christmas morning.

  • Put the same items in the stockings each year - an orange, Whitman's sampler box, a candy cane, etc.

  • Listen to the same music while decorating the tree or having Christmas dinner

Our Twelve Days of Christmas starts this Saturday! Hmmmm, what should I do to make it special since it's our first year as Empty Nesters? Any suggestions?

What family traditions does your family observe at Christmas?

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