Friday, December 5, 2008

Family Traditions

So, I should be trying to wrap up some Friday afternoon paperwork, but I am surfing through the blogs I keep up with. I just read one that made me think. It talked about the holiday season and slowing down and remembering what is really important this time of year. It mentions focusing on family and friends and putting less emphasis on parties and presents. I have been reading a book. (I know, crazy!) I can't remember the title and I don't have it in front of me. But, it is a compilation of short stories about the time of year between Thanksgiving and New Years. These stories are humorous in nature, but really make you think about family traditions this time of year. So, these two things, the blog and the book have me thinking about what most people think is a crazy time of year. I prefer to think of it as magical. I would love to see it through my children's eyes, but I guess I see it through my own and remember what it was like as a child. I remember Christmas the best. We would go to church on Christmas Eve. Depending on who was doing what, at which service, we would chose from 7:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m., or 11:00 p.m. Sometimes we went to more than one. I can remember going to 7 and 11 some years. I often sang in the church choir or played the hand bells. My father ushered most years and my sister even sang some years. My mom and grandma stood by to support and enjoy the service and all that we would do that night. After the service, we went home, turned on the Christmas music on my parents record player, put pajamas on, and opened a few gifts! It was tradition. The next morning brought more of the same, opening gifts and listening to Christmas music. After we completed opening gifts, we ate breakfast and I would wait for the phone to ring. It would be my best friend, Jessica. Every year for as long as I can remember we went to each others house to show off our presents. Then in the afternoon, we would visit with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins on my father's side of the family. We would rotate whose house the festivities would be at. Those times are long gone, but I think about them often at this time of year. That is what I want for my own children. Church and the "Reason for the Season" was a huge part of holidays. But, the presents and the hype had there place too. I want my children to remember why we celebrate Christmas and what it is about. We light an advent wreath each Sunday and talk about what it means, say and pray, and then eat dinner. All of our children are participating in the Christmas Pageant at church. These are things I want my children to remember as they look back on Christmas when they are grown. But, I want them to look back at the other things we do. We have made it a tradition to go to Christmas Candy Lane at Hershey, PA. We go to Bull Run Lights in Northern Virginia. We started a pajama ride a few years ago. This includes putting the kids to bed early (they don't know it is early) , then my husband and I go down to the kitchen grab some pots and pans and run upstairs, yelling pajama ride. Then we leave the house with snacks, hot cocoa, and head to adjacent neighborhoods to look at light displays. Our favorite is a house with a dancing Santa! We got to breakfast with Santa at a local fire house and this year we will take a trip to see a "Legendary Santa" from my father-in-laws childhood. When my children look back at Christmas as adults I want them to remember the magic that we created for them and the magic and wonder of the birth of Jesus Christ. Those are our family traditions.

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