the 2 best traditions
I am all about traditions when it comes to Christmastime. I fondly recall those traditions I shared with my parents and brother during the holidays. I think it is so important to have some lasting, meaningful moments that happen EVERY year in my own home; I want my girls to have things that they look forward to every December. Our traditions bind us together; because of them, we feel even more like a family than we already know we are.
A few of our traditions each year...
* Decorating the Christmas trees together
* A visit to Santa Claus
* Christmas Eve communion service
* Getting out my nutcracker collection
* Baking Christmas cookies together
* A drive through town to look at Christmas lights
* "It's a Wonderful Life" viewing as a family
* New pajamas
* Reading the Christmas story before presents are opened
And I want to start these few new traditions this year...
* Making a gingerbread house
* Having a Christmas girls night out
But there are two Christmas traditions that are most special to me. We do these every year and have done them as long as I can remember. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without them. They make my Christmas more warm and cozy and...meaningful!
Thought I'd share them with you and challenge you (on this Random Tuesday!) to share a holiday tradition with me and the rest of us here!
The first is our Family Advent Celebration. Advent (which literally means "anticipation") starts on the first Sunday of December and continues throughout the month. We celebrate it with our special Advent candle wreath which includes four purple candles (for each of the Sundays in December) and a white "Christ candle" in the middle (which is lit on Christmas Eve). Every Sunday evening during the month, we gather as a family and light the appropriate candles; then we talk about some spiritual aspect of the holiday. We usually focus on one word a week--this year we have talked about the "anticipation of Christ" and this past Sunday we talked about "peace" and how we should experience it during the holidays and all year round. We divide up the different "duties" each week; the girls light different candles, McKenna and Delaney will read a Bible passage or a poem; Sydney will help us sing a Christmas song; Gary will say a prayer. Sure, sometimes it gets rambunctious and we may argue over whose turn it is to light which candle, but it is truly the best way we have discovered to keep the "true" meaning of the season intact. We can stop--even if it's just for thirty minutes--and consider how Christmas isn't just about getting that big gift we want; but it's about the reason we even gifts to begin with. It's about love and joy and peace and serving others and celebrating Jesus' birth.
The second tradition is the Late-Night Christmas Eve Gift Unwrapping with just me and Gary. A long time ago Gary and I realized that, yes, Christmas is all about children and we treasure the moments when the girls get to unwrap their gifts or get to see their gifts from Santa for the first time. But...we also realized that we needed some "us" time during this busy, busy time of year. So, after we have returned home from Gary's parents on Christmas Eve and we have the girls home and asleep in bed (yes, it can be kinda late sometimes! lol), Gary and I light a fire in the fireplace, open a bottle of wine we have bought special for the occasion, and open our gifts to each other. Gary and I give ourselves a budget that we get to spend on each other and we just love to go out and try and find the perfect gifts for each other. On Christmas Eve, we take turns unwrapping gifts (we usually try and outdo each other; I always try and have ONE more gift for him than he does for me!), give each other a kiss for each gift, drink a sip of wine, and repeat! It is one of the most special times of the season and makes us both so appreciative of each other.
Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without either of these traditions. They truly make the season complete!
So...do you have any special Christmas traditions that you celebrate with your sweetie, or your friends, or your family? I would LOVE to hear about them!!
(And thought I'd close with a picture I took just last night. I just love it! It's llooking from my downstairs green tree up to my white one)...