Changing Christmas Traditions

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?

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5 Comments

Filed under Family, The Art of Living

5 responses to “Changing Christmas Traditions

  1. Very nice! Thanks for the link back~
    I love that your husband carried on his tradition and adapted to a better time in the day. I am sorry your daughter won’t be with you this year, but it sounds like your family has grown!
    Have a wonderful Christmas season!

  2. Naomi

    We used to go to Grandpa’s & Grandma’s property to tromp through the woods, pick out & cut the perfect live cedar for our Christmas tree. Charlie’s family had always purchased one at the nearest seller of trees. Several years he gave in to my desire to return to my grandparents’ and I loved the whole experience. Then we found Christmas tree farms…a happy compromise! Now we purchase one from whatever convenient place we can…a tree farm is not always readily available. So far we still have a live tree, and I hope we always will. But…we decorate as soon after Thansgiving as possible. Sometimes that has been the next day, but more often it is at least a week, sometimes two, later. We keep our decorations up until New Year’s Day. I love the decorations & try to enjoy them as long as possible. ☺

    • Sue

      Naomi, I’d love to put our tree up sooner. :) We do start decorating the first week of Advent and have all the decorations up within a week or so. But the tree is still the last thing done in our house. Oh, well, sometimes we have to compromise! We leave up our tree and decorations until January 6th, when we celebrate the coming of the wise men.

  3. Kate

    We always used to wrap cotton wool around the base of our tree and build a snowscene with china houses. Then we had to stop doing that when we got our dog and for a couple of years, we were snowscene-less. Then my Mum hit on the idea of doing it on the sideboard instead. That’s the last major change I can remember and I’m so glad that we made that change, as we’ve been able to expand on it, add a few more buildings. It does look a little strange, as the original houses are all quite small and the newer ones are massive, but we don’t mind that. :)

    Another one of our traditions is that we try something new every year and if we really enjoyed the “new thing”, it becomes a permanent fixture. Last year, we made cookie mixes in jars and we haven’t really stopped since. The year before, we made gingerbread houses. Well, I say “made”. All we really ended up with was a pile of gingerbread bricks and a certain amount of resentments towards whoever it was who invented the gingerbread house. The oldest “new thing” that I can remember is making our own chocolates. We always used to buy all our Christmas chocolates (and we do still get through a fair amount), then we had a go at making a few of our own. The rest, as they say, is history. :)

    I got really lucky. The magic of Christmas never died for me, it just changed. I’m well into my twenties now and I can’t imagine not wanting to be in the kitchen with my Mum at Christmas, cooking up a storm. I can’t imagine not wanting to decorate the tree. I can’t imagine someone asking about a decoration on the tree and me not being able to remember where it came from or why I bought it. And no matter how old I get, I know that I’ll always want to listen to my Mum reading me “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve.

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