We have many traditions at our house.
We always go to church. Instead of being a standard worship service, it reminds me more of campfire at camp. The evening starts with silly and fun songs and readings. It finishes up with more sacred stories and hymns. Those things are sandwiched in by prayers. After all, you have to invite God to come and give thanks at the end for a wonderful time together. Mostly, thanks for the gift of Jesus.
Like most good churches, food follows closely on the heels of the Christmas Eve service. Snacks really. Christmas cookies and chocolates and cheese balls and dips of all ethnicities, and tiny meatballs, and crackers and the token veggie tray. The veggie tray makes it all okay. Somehow it cancels out the artery clogging other stuff. For drinks we have a long tradition, started by a dearly departed member, of banana punch or hot apple cider. Or, it you're like me---have some of both.
The next morning we torture our kids with the reading of the Christmas story out of the Bible and a prayer to give thanks for the ridiculous number of blessings that we have at our house. We are, indeed, blessed beyond measure.
Lately, my sister Jean, has been able to join us for the Christmas festivities. She lives in Portland for most of the year; and so having her here four Christmases in a row has been a rare treat!
The unwrapping frenzy commences. Lee and I had high hopes when we just had Tom, that we'd unwrap each present individually and everyone else would watch and 'ooo and ahhh'. Once we had three kids, that pretty much went out the window. The kids are properly grateful, but at a much faster pace.
Lunch is when we eat. No one can wait until dinner time to eat Grandma Cox's homemade butterhorn rolls or pumpkin pie. What seems to be setting up itself as Christmas tradition is the addition of beef as the main dish. A rib roast. We buy meat from one of those grocery stores (Randalls) that gives deep discounts on things if you carry one of their "member" cards. Rib roast would be out of the question, otherwise.
Beef climbed the ladder over turkey and ham quite easily. We have ham many times during the year, and so it isn't so special. Turkey............lets just say that after Thanksgiving I don't want to eat turkey again until next Thanksgiving.
Lastly, I have a personal tradition that the family doesn't really know about. It isn't something that's up in their faces like say, cookies or watching the movie, Elf.
I got this book called The Family Christmas Book in 1993.
Here's what it says on the inside cover:
"Keep this family Christmas Book
Faithfully through the years,
Record your Christmas memories,
The love and the good cheer.
When twenty-five years have come and gone
Won't it be a pleasure,
To have this book to cherish
As your special Christmas treasure."
Each year, as I'm putting away the decorations, I fill out the book regarding that years events.
We gathered at (address)________
Those who joined us in the cheer________
Special events of the holiday season_________
Memories of the past year___________
Christmas card we sent this year__________
Not every year was there a special picture taken. Not every year was there a special event. Not every year did someone join us. Not every year was there a Christmas letter or a Christmas card (gasp!!).
What did happen every year was memories. I won't say they were all cheery, but goodness knows we done some living and been incredibly blessed since 1993.
Lee and I have been blessed since the moment we met in 1986.
I hope this book will bring back happy memories for my family for many, many years to come.