Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Traditions

There are many things I love about the Christmas season. The reason being that my family, and especially my mother's side of the family, has always made a big deal about Christmas. Christmas has always been a wonderful celebration filled with family, food and gifts.

One of my favorite traditions growing up was in the decorating of the house and tree. We made it a family event. I remember that there was always egg nog involved. Most of the years we would set up the same fake tree we had had since the beginning of time. We all would assist in the sorting of the fake tree branches according to the color painted on their wire ends. There would always be lights to unravel and plug into the wall to check before we wound them around the tree. Mom would get all the ornaments out and place wire hooks on them in preparation for us to hang. I remember snowmen, Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, and small plastic candy canes of assorted colors. While the Tijuana Voices or Andy Williams Christmas albums were playing in the background, we would string lights, hang ornaments and place the garland perfectly on the tree. This is a tradition I have kept with my family now as they grow up. (With more musical selections of course.)

Another Christmas tradition that I truly cherish is the exchanging of ornaments. The first year we were married, Maranda and I decided that we would exchange ornaments every year and those would be the only ornaments that we would decorate our tree with. When children came along, we started to give them an ornament every year as well. We give an ornament to commemorate or signify something that happened that year. For the children, we have tried to give them ornaments that show their interests that year. It has been a wonderful tradition that brings back many memories every time we decorate the tree.

Along with the exchanging of ornaments, this year we have started ornament journals where Maranda and I will write a note to each other explaining why we picked the ornament we did. We also keep separate journals for each of the children that they will be able to take, along with their ornaments, when they establish their own households.

These are just a few of my favorite Christmas traditions. Enjoy the following Andy Williams video and don't forget to comment and let me know what your favorite Christmas traditions are.


  1. I'm not much of a traditionalist, so I don't often repeat the same holiday twice, but I enjoy making Christmas memories and recalling old ones. I have two Christmas memories that come to mind:
    1. I remember one Christmas (pre-kids) when we had a loooong drive around Texas to visit family, and no working car tape deck. We sang for hours in the car. What did we sing? Variations on Feliz Navidad. To this day, I still enjoy a rounding chorus of Feliz Navidad!

    2. I also fondly remember going Christmas caroling in college to the nursing home and to friends' homes. One of those songs we did for fun was 'Christmas in Killarney', a capella, in our best Irish accents. Take a listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elOfpRJ_Jak

  2. Definitely setting up the same fake tree WE'VE had since the beginning of time.

    One of mom's favorite traditions is watching It's a Wonderful Life with the whole family.

  3. Christmas traditions...

    1. I think we've watched "A Christmas Story" every Christmas since I was 8. I love that movie.

    2. We have an advent tree that has 24 ornaments from the nativity. We put an ornament in a box each night in December for the boys to open, then we read a Bible verse that ties in with the ornament, and we hang the ornament on the tree.

    3. Every year we cut down a Christmas tree at a tree farm. Everyone takes turns with the saw. The boys love this one.

    4. We also make a date to go look at Christmas lights. In Lincoln, there are a handful of homes that go all out, with moving lights, displays, and choreographed music that you can listen to on the radio. We all get in the van and stop for some hot chocolate before driving to see them.

    5. My sister-in-law started the tradition a couple years ago of baking a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Day. The boys love this one, too.

    6. Finally, this is the fourth year that Tracie and I (and an expanding group of friends and family) have gone to see "Behold The Lamb of God," a concert by Andrew Peterson and friends. Christmas is a busy time for me (I know you can sympathize), and this presentation never fails to refresh me and remind me of the awe and wonder of Immanuel.

  4. @Bret...

    We do the annual load up in the van, grab a hot drink, and look at Christmas lights around the area also. :)