My kids have organized things so that on the odd years, they all go to their in-laws for Christmas and we get together for Thanksgiving. On the even years, we switch. Once upon a time, not too long ago, they all came to my house for the turkey feast or the traditions of Christmas. But then they began to have homes of their own, and families of their own so we began to take turns. When I moved to Florida, to a cute little beach bungalow, I thought my days of hosting were over. Hah! Apparently the lure of a warm holiday was good enough to have them all decide last Thanksgiving that this year they would be coming here. Fortunately, my little bungalow has a twin that shares the courtyard and it’s a rental. I put my bid in early and we’re going to have a little family compound going for Christmas.
Many of the traditions we keep were started long ago. One is having Mary and Joseph travel from the furthest point in the house to the Manger, arriving on Christmas Eve and then having the baby Jesus appear while we are at church. Another is the white tablecloth, that once dinner is done and the plates cleared, colored pencils are brought out for everyone present to draw a small picture of something important in their lives that year. I always got to do all the embroidery after the holiday, but it’s such fun to look at all the drawings from years past and remember when….
A newer tradition is one my daughter-in-law dreamed up. She thought it would be fun to have all the kids dressed in similar outfits. A couple years it was pajamas that they ordered online, but sometimes I’ve been solicited to put my sewing talents to use and create matching outfits. This year it was skirts for the girls and a vest for Jack. (Christopher’s too grown up to get gussied up like his cousins, now.)
Showing off Grammy made dresses Waiting for Santa...
Haven't seen them
A sled load of kids on yet this year!
We have lots of other great traditions. Like green punch that forces me to make the rounds of grocery stores on the hunt for lime sherbet. Letting the kids help play Santa when they first realize Santa doesn’t wear a red suit or hang out at the North Pole most of the year. Being secret Kris Kindles to each other during Advent, lighting the purple candles on our dinner tables at supper time to mark the passing weeks of Advent, making a game of tossing balls of discarded wrapping paper into a big box in the middle of the floor and dozens of other things that make it a family holiday. The kind of holiday you remember fondly and ache for when you have to spend Christmas far away from family and friends. The sort of thing that bring reminders of family members who are no longer with you, or make you feel like a kid again.
Christmas is a lot of things. For Christians, it’s the celebration of the birth of our Savior and all that implies in our lives of faith. But it’s a holiday for the world as well. Christmas trees and Saint Nicholas come from our roots in Europe and so does the idea of gifts left in stockings or shoes. But in our melting pot country where not everyone is Christian, the holiday has become more secular, with carols like Silver Bells and White Christmas. Menorahs are as common a sight as mangers, and most every kid hangs up a stocking whatever their parent’s beliefs or non-beliefs. Christmas is a season of family and friends, of good times and great memories. It’s a time for giving - of ourselves, our time, our treasure and our talents, not just to family and friends, but to those less fortunate than we. It’s a time to reconnect with folk we don’t get to see as often as we’d like, at parties and in the sending of cards.
For my Christian friends, the candles are lit and prayers offered for a blessed season and a new beginning with Christ. For my Jewish friends - Shalom. For everyone else, Happy Holidays however you choose to celebrate. For the world - I wish for Peace and Prosperity.
Take a moment and share your favorite traditions whatever your faith. Click on the comment button below. I’d love to hear how you celebrate the season.