As I was flipping through a long list of Christmas themed blogs I asked myself, “What Christmas traditions will my kids take with them?” We do a lot of stuff, we call it traditions – expecting the same celebrations to be forever, but I wonder if they really are.
I’m okay with that. I’m okay with the idea that we do things for many years, but maybe not forever. I know we have changed things around as our kids grow older. Many things we did when they were young – and I called them traditions at the time – where for the purpose of teaching and training my children, and we don’t do them any more.
I look at things that my grandma always did – that was a part of our family Christmas. Other than specific foods, I remember the Christmas Eve party. When we were ‘home’ for Christmas I remember (only a few times) going out and getting a Christmas tree with Grandad. Always on Christmas Eve. Here is something that I considered a family tradition and yet it only began as Grandma’s daughters started getting married and she wanted to find a way that would help her girls celebrate Christmas with their new family without conflict to celebrate with their own. She came up with the idea of their family celebrating Christmas Eve so they could take Christmas Day with their husband’s family.
I don’t remember a lot about Christmas in my own family (other than our visits to Grandma). I know (through conversations with my mum) that they were toned down, Christ focused. I do remember that we always read the Scripture’s account of the birth of Christ on Christmas morning. In my younger years we didn’t do Santa but then in my late teens we started to enjoy pretending together. A new tradition was born – it was crazy and we laughed at ourselves over the silliness of it all. Family memories.
So I wonder at the things I’ve said were our traditions; which ones will last, which ones will be taken to the next generation? When I search my heart I have two traditions which I hold dear, two traditions which I do hope my children will run with but if they don’t, that is okay. They are our traditions and I know they have created memories and a foundation for any tradition they may like to introduce to their family.
My top two traditions are:
1-Reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning. We have a picture story book, which I bought when our kids were very young. I felt it was more engaging for them, than listening to the Bible – I wanted them to listen and think about the story, not just glaze over as Dad droned on, when all they wanted was to open presents. (Let’s be honest here!!) Over the last few years we’ve wanted to move onto the Bible version, but our kids are sentimentally attached to the story book. One day we may move on… but in the mean time we reflect on the truth presented there.
2-Open House Christmas Day. For many years we’ve had an open invite to people in our town who are looking for family to celebrate Christmas with. We ask that people bring a plate to shares so I’m not spending a lot of time in catering. One year, Peter regretted not asking a couple he’d met at church to come on out that evening. So he went back into town, knocking on every Backpackers door looking for a Swedish couple! He found them, and they joined us for a special time of sharing internationally! We live in a town where people don’t have an extended family so this has become the way we spend our Christmas night. Each year is different, but each year is fun.
We can get hung up on doing things the same way every year – but it is much more important to use traditions to teach and highlight our values than just to do things because they’ve always been done. Traditions teach values, and though the values may not change, the way we celebrate may.
Over to you:
What is your most precious tradition – I’d love to hear from you
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