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Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Christmas is nearly upon us.  Hooray!

I had a little meltdown this weekend over the stress of the Christmas season.  I hate when that happens to me.  I fully admit that I am super good at being self-centered, and I took my eyes off the real point of Christmas.

What was that again?

Presents?  Cookies?  Trees?

Well, anyway.  I certainly hope you know why you are Christmas-ing, and I also hope you are smarter than I am, and finding joy in each moment.

I had a little moment of clarity, post-meltdown, where I just stopped and looked around.  Some of the kids were watching Barbie's Nutcracker.  Funny was setting out her 900 gifts that she has been crafting.  Hub was playing with the train set, trying to get things to work.  I was sipping a cup of super tasty hot chocolate.  And I was just....


I wanted desperately to cling onto that, but it was gone so quickly.  *sigh*

Until that great day comes, when I am completely consumed by praise for our amazing God, I have to keep looking for these little blessings.  It is so easy to lose them amongst sales, wrapping, and untangling lights.

And so, I want to share some of our Christmas traditions, because there is something so comforting about them.  Obviously, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our savior, and I think tradition is a nice way to express that hope that comes with Christ.

We always take a night to go look at the tackiest light displays we can find.  There are few great ones around here, but by far the greatest is in Granby in Norfolk, VA.  I miss those crazy people.  When my parents lived in Virginia Beach, we would drive to see the lights.  It was just a few people, and they decorated their whole cul-de-sac.  We'd also head over to the Navy base and check out the ships all decked out with their lights.  This is something I did with my parents, and now Hub and I do it with our kids (well, minus the ships).

I always baked cookies with my mom and sister and then decorated them.  We have continued that tradition as well.  We always spend Christmas eve with Hub's parents.  He always spent Christmas eve with his paternal grandparents growing up.  The kids don't get to open anything besides their stockings until after breakfast on Christmas.  That is thanks to my dad's parents, and he passed it along to us.

I love how tradition helps me feel connected to all those who have come before me, and connects me to those who are yet to come.  I pray that I remember that during this month, and that I don't get caught up in the "have tos" and "should haves."  Just being is enough.

It doesn't have to be fancy.  After all, Mary and Joseph didn't have to have a 6 foot pre-lit tree with 50 presents under it, right?

What are some of your traditions?


  1. You always make me laugh and reading this makes me appreciate you even more. But as per your request... some of my traditions are making cookies, getting to family together for the annual Christmas picture, and eating tons of food of course.... and oh yeah there is ALWAYS football.

  2. For a few years now we've baked a cake and sing "happy birthday Jesus" on Christmas morning. It is a great breakfast. My wife is pretty cool.

  3. We also drive around looking at Christmas lights at least once per season. It's fun to find which are the "good" neighborhoods with residents who are competitive about their light displays.

  4. Sounds like we have similar holiday plans. This year when we are driving around, we are going to try taking hot cocoa with us in the van. I think the kids are old enough to use the "cool" starbuck kind of lids you can buy. I might even let them eat a cookie, too! Throw all caution to the wind!

  5. We sing happy birthday to Jesus, using cinnamon rolls as the birthday cake as well as it being our breakfast. The first gift we open it a gift to the family which contains our family bible and baby Jesus to go into the manger. We read the Christmas story from the bible and put Jesus in the manger before opening the other gifts (the kids get 3 gifts from us, just like Jesus).


  6. Actually, we usually make rice krispie treats and put candles on it. Seemed better for a morning meal.


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