I know I’ve been doing the 30 Day Blog Challenge, but when I read Traditions in Transition over at Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride blog, I thought, “What a great post idea for the Christmas season.” So, I am borrowing her idea and talking about how our family Christmas traditions have changed through the years. I’ll try to sneak in a few Challenge posts this next month, but I want to write about Christmas, too. I’ll also be talking about some of our Christmas practices we use to keep Christmas focused less on getting and more on the promise and fulfillment of the Christ Child.
Changing Christmas Traditions at Our House
On our first Christmas together, we had to blend Christmas traditions and both of us wanted to do Christmas the way we did “at home”. Compromises had to be made and some of our traditions did blend together. Some not! For the first few years of our marriage, maybe four to five, Joe always decorated the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after the kids were in bed asleep. (This was how his mother had done it, but as soon as he was old enough to know there was no Santa, she let him stay up and help.) Since he is a perfectionist and the tree had to look just perfect, this made for a very long night and two very tired adults on Christmas Day. I was so happy the year he finally conceded to put up the tree and decorate it during the day on Christmas Eve. After a few years of decorating it during the day, he allowed the children to assist him. As the two older ones became teenagers, he turned over more of the tree decorating to them. As they came home from college, they took over the tree completely and gradually we had the tree decorated a few days before Christmas, instead of the night before.
While the children were growing up, we always waited until they were in bed in Christmas Eve before the gifts were placed under the tree. Then one year, Joe decided he didn’t get to look at the beauty of the lighted tree with the colorful presents under it long enough, so he put his presents under it as soon as it was decorated during the day on Christmas Eve. We all followed suit. Now the presents sit under the tree as soon as it is finished!
The Christmas stockings used to hold mixed nuts in their shells, an apple, an orange, some mixed candy, a couple of small gifts, and a candy cane sticking out of the top. The candy cane looked very picturesque, but no one ever ate them! So, I finally stopped wasting money on them and we dropped that tradition. The hard-shell nuts took so much trouble to crack and shell that they were being neglected and left behind, so we changed from nuts in hard shells to roasted peanuts. They taste good and are easily shelled. Last year we dropped the apple and orange, because they are available throughout the year in stores now, so are not a treat, like they used to be.
Our three children are grown now, moved away, and have lives of their own, but one wonderful tradition that continues is that they come home for Christmas. Even when my youngest daughter lived in Russia for several years, she always flew home for Christmas. This Christmas we will have my youngest daughter and her husband, and my son with his wife and four boys. My oldest daughter is breaking that tradition now. She lives completely across the country from us and flying at Christmas has become so expensive, that she has decided to visit us in the summer time, instead of at Christmas. We will really miss having her here at Christmas, but will love having her visit whenever she can, anyway.
How have your Christmas Traditions changed through the years?