We were talking today about how I know that we’ve always had traditions, but sometimes I forget them between years. Last year, did we open a present on Christmas Eve, or no? We are just a new family, and still deciding which traditions we want to build into our family culture. So far, the biggest tradition we have decided on is that every year, our Christmas song before we open presents is what we believe to be the very essence of Christmas:
Holy God in love became,
Perfect man to bear my blame.
On the cross he bore my sin,
By his death I live again.
We want our family, both now and in the future to keep this as the context in which we view Christmas. But, beyond that, our traditions are still developing and shaping. So, I am curious, what are your Christmas traditions? What are the things that you know will happen every year? I want to share a bit of the traditions I remember from being a kid . . . nostalgic, and might make me home-sick, but . . .
Every year on Christmas Eve, my sister and I attempted to stay up all night long watching movies while Mom and Dad wrapped presents in another room. We usually made it halfway through the first one and that was about it. As we got older, we started opening presents on Christmas Eve, and it didn’t matter how old we actually were, you would still have thought we were 5 and 10.
Then, Christmas morning, we would get up and bemoan the fact that all of our older siblings were so slow. Everyone would come from everywhere, my three brothers, my older sister and her family, and the two of us plus Mom and Dad. Once everyone arrived and we got all of the hellos out of the way we would enjoy an amazing breakfast that my mom prepared. Mmmmmmm . . .I am thinking about it now. Afterwards, we would gather in the family room, everyone would start to quiet down, and Dad would read the Christmas story. He would always talk to us about something that he had been thinking of over the past year, and then we would all take a turn talking about what we were thankful for from the last year, and how God had changed or grown us.
After sharing, we would commence the handing out of the presents. Inevitably, by the time everyone was finishing up opening and thanking and laughing and sharing, a Christmas paper fight would ensue. That was Mom’s cue to bring in a plastic bag, and soon enough everyone would scatter to play ping-pong (I do believe I am the reigning champion!) video games, talk, or just enjoy being together.
I love Christmas. I love these traditions. I won’t forget them even as I have now ventured out on my own and have to start building my own traditions.
What are your traditions?