One of the many things that I love about the family that I grew up in is our commitment to traditions. Even after some of them could have or should have died a natural death. While we hold tight to our old traditions, we also embrace new ones. Or at least we’ll give them a try.
Christmas Eve is simply one tradition after another. I know for all that have joined our family over the past 20 years, the have graciously tolerated some of the traditions while whole heartedly embracing the rest of the traditions.
The night always starts with the same dinner. Luckily, that dinner is delicious. My dad makes his delicious clam chowder and his french onion soup. Some years, we may add a potato leek soup or a broccoli cheddar but those are only for the years when we have the whole family gathered. On the very rare occasion, I’ll make a pot of borscht for those who appreciate beets.
After dinner we will gather for the reading of Luke 2. Well, actually it is more than just a reading. The full nativity is presented by all of the children in costume. Each year someone else plays Mary and Joseph. Typically, my uncle Jim will read but this year my cousin Cass did. She did an excellent job. She threw in some carols, which really did rock the boat just a bit. We are not a family of singers. We aren’t scary bad but we definitely are not good. People wouldn’t hear us singing and ever ask us to sing in church. (We, as a family, have sung one time in church for my brother’s LDS mission farewell. It did not result in invitations to sing again). I love doing the Nativity, even if it doesn’t always remain reverent and it doesn’t always flow nicely. It is one of my favorite parts about our traditional Christmas Eve.
Once the Nativity is acted out and the kids start acting out we switch gears from the reverent to the creative. When I was in my early teens, my mom came up with the idea that we should craft on Christmas Eve. Our family may not be musically inclined, we do have quite a few very talented artists in our family and even more arts and crafts inclined family members. Some years we paint wooden figures or create a wooden garland. Other years we have painted toys to donate or decorated glass ornaments. This year, we selected a folding paper craft from Jade’s school class. Several were frustrated with the folding – cardstock may be pretty but it is not easy to fold. Then others got frustrated when the paper wreath had to be built. And few felt it wasn’t a challenge and cruised through the process.
Eventually the kids start getting tired and the doorbell rings. When the kids run to the door they find a great big bag full of pajamas. As the tradition stands, the kids all change their clothes and put on their jammies. This year the grown-ups also got “Santa jammies” – which doesn’t thrill everyone, except for those of us born into the family. 🙂 Grown-up matching jammies is not something we can do every year. (Kat designed these and I absolutely love them).
After everyone is dressed in their “Santa Jammies” we all head to our homes where we hang up our stockings and call it a night.
Those are the traditions that year after year make me smile and make Christmas feel like Christmas.
What traditions are a must for your Christmas celebrations?