Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Holiday Traditions

Okay, enough politics! Time to start thinking about the Holidays. Are we ready for this?

This year, I actually feel that I am ready for a change. Maybe it is my newly painted house -- inside, furniture, and out?

All this thinking about the Holidays has gotten me to thinking: What things are our family holiday traditions? What things would we like to do to add to these traditions? So I am emailing & writing to others to see what their holiday traditions are. Here is one from my cousin in Louisiana:

"We don't do dat [put up Christmas tree] 'till da first week of December!!!!!! We usually try to get a real tree from this Christmas Tree farm just outside of the city limits. The thing is though that most of XXXXX tags their trees right after Halloween, then lets them grow for another month, then goes cut it down closer to advent.

Well, this family seems to never getting around to going tag ours! So every year we get stuck with a "Charlie Brown" tree. Every year I describe to Barrett and the boys what I want. (tradition is that the XXXXX men go get the tree, the woman decorates) They get off knowing exactly what to bring back. Sure enough, Barrett says that they always see just what I wanted but it was tagged!!! So, he tries to pass off what he buys as the most beautiful tree that they had left, with the boys ohhing and ahhing too. It is actually pretty hilarious!

One thing that our girls do is to write a note to Jesus about something that they will do during the holiday season to help others. It may be to pray for someone in need, or donate toys to a charity, or send an email or letter to someone who is lonely. Then they place their note in a wrapped box under the Christmas tree and open it on Christmas day for Jesus.

We also almost always go out to look at neighboring Christmas tree lights and displays, while sipping peppermint hot chocolate, and singing Christmas Carols. We try to do this at least one time and on Christmas Eve, after mass, if possible.

What are your holiday traditions? Email me, or post a comment.

Well here is what some of you had to say -- Thanks for sharing! :

1) We order Chinese takeout on Christmas Eve as my brother-in-law is Jewish -- kind of reminds me of the movie "A Christmas Story." : )

2) We look at the light and yard displays in a big neighborhood that goes all out. You can walk or they even have horse and carriage rides available. Fun!

3) We light a candle near our Nativity with Baby Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Day.

4) We light an Advent wreath with candles each night, in the weeks preceding Christmas, and say a special prayer to remind us the true meaning of Christmas. On Christmas Day we light all of the candles and sign Happy Birthday to Jesus.

5) We make lots of Christmas cookies, with tons of icing, sprinkles, and red hots. The ratio is usually about 1 part cookie to 2 parts icing and sprinkles. We're cleaning up sprinkles off the kitchen floor for days! : )

6) We try to visit a nursing home and sing carols/give gifts to the residents -- so many of whom are very lonely at this busy time of year.

7) My mom used to make PJs (pajamas) for all of us kids, and for her and dad if time permitted. Many years they were matching sets. Now she does the grandkids.

8) We try to do a "Christmas Angel" or something like that to give gifts to others who are less fortunate.

9) We try to add a new piece to our Fontanini nativity set each year. They have neat stories that come with each person, angel, or animal. They even have wells, palm trees, and other structures.

10) We try to buy at least one new ornament each year for our Christmas tree.

11) We try to have each person take a turn putting the Angel on top of the tree each year.

12) We try to take a family photo each year and send out a card.

13) My daughter Lauren: I make a Christmas countdown chain out of red and green strips of construction paper. I have a link for each day until Christmas. Then I number them and put the largest number at the bottom of the chain and work my way up to #1. I remove 1 link each night to keep track.

My mom loves this because then she doesn't have to answer the question each night: "How many days until Christmas?".

You can also make a poster to represent the actual day of Christmas. Then attach your countdown chain to the poster and/or just hang it up in a spot where you can reach it to remove the links. Happy counting!

14) Speaking of Lauren: I remember when Lauren was 3 1/2 and on Christmas Eve, when we were driving around looking at Christmas lights, she got the idea in her head that she wanted to look for Jesus's star. She wouldn't let us go home until she was absolutely sure that we had identified the correct star. We did manage to talk her out following the star to the Baby Jesus though, or that would have been a long night! : )

So why not look for Jesus's star while you are out with your family looking at Christmas lights?

15) We get together one weekend before Christmas with the whole extended family. Chief Mom/Grandma cooks the main meal and everyone brings a dish to complement the meal. Then after the dinner the kids put on a skit or play for the grown-ups. Lots of fun!

16) We try to go to see a Christmas play, concert, the Nutcracker or something as a family.

17) We go to our town's Holiday festival complete with noontime parade, bounce houses, train rides, gingerbread cookie decorating, live performances, face painting, craft fair and in the evening the town tree lighting by Santa Claus and kids can visit with Santa. Lots of good food too!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the fall, usually around or after halloween, we go on a hayride with family and carve pumpkins. Then we have a camp fire and roast marshmellows and seeds.