As I am excitedly getting our house ready for Christmas I find myself reflecting on family Christmas traditions. It started when I was decorating the tree and found myself unwrapping ornaments and reflecting on the memories that they bring back. There are the ornaments with pictures of little boys from pre-school days, all sorts of ornaments that we purchased on family trips (often with 3 little ones being reminded, “be careful when you touch”, hand crocheted angels from my talented Grandmother and so many ornaments that friends have given us over the years. It takes even longer to decorate the tree when you have the time to reflect on the meaning of each ornament…and where it should be placed so that everyone can see “their ornament” when we all gather.
This is “our year” to have our adult children and their families for Christmas. We have added 3 new stockings to the mantel this year…thrilled for each new addition to our family. My stocking started a family tradition as one of my dearest childhood friend’s grandmother knitted me a stocking one year. When I was married she knit one for my husband. The last one she knitted before she died was for our first born son. I was determined to “carry on” the stockings….but did not have a pattern. But..after much searching I found someone to knit stockings for the next two sons and for years our five stockings hung on the mantle. But, as they married and had children I had to search for another person to copy the stockings…and I have kept her busy this year. She is a Godsend.
We always go to church on Christmas Eve followed by the tradition that everyone gets to open a present. This has now evolved into a sort of family “white elephant” where each person can “steal” another’s gift…but they are usually all socks or ties or something along those lines but with different patterns. It is amazing how fun this is and how intense it can get. Really, over socks?
The last thing we do before bed on Christmas Eve is to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” aloud, and we continue to do this. Happily, this year there will be grandchildren to start listening and I hope that this tradition continues for along time.
Making memories and having traditions is part of the “glue” that holds a family together. Children need that sense of stability and tradition, even when they act like they don’t! Whether they are serious or silly things you do together….they are your traditions.