Friday, December 14, 2012

Tradition! Tradition!

One of the elements of Christmas that I love is traditions.  It is so special to hand down holiday rituals from my childhood.  I also love the chance to start new traditions! My kids get excited about the things that we ALWAYS do at Christmas, and as the month passes I often hear "When are we going to...?" I try to follow in the footsteps of my mom, who made the holidays so special.  She also make it look so easy.  Maybe she had some elves that helped her out, but I just remember that she had this magical way of making Christmas look beautiful and effortless.

MY favorite tradition that we have is going to the mountains and cutting down our Christmas tree.  This year, we went to a new location as the place that we have gone to over the past 8 years was burned in a fire last summer.  We had the perfect day to hike around, searching for our perfect tree.  We found the most beautiful tree, tall and full and so grand! There are even tiny pinecones on it to add to it's beauty.  

We love "having count down to Christmas" decorations.  You know the kind... every day you change the number of the day until the 25th arrives.  All of the kids take turns each day turning the day on the various countdown calendars that we have.

Driving around our city to see Christmas lights is always a fun tradition.  There is a business in our town that has a Christmas display that has been up ever since I was a kid.  Its hard to explain the true concept of the "Woodward lights. Lets just say that large plastic carolers, made-to-look-real miniature wooden churches, a faded manger scene and a slew of lights and music cause this girl to get holiday goosebumps.  Driving around the curved driveway with the car light turned off and the windows rolled down, straining to here the piped in carols, only adds to the magical 2 minute "we're not in Kansas anymore" Christmas experience.  My kids repeat the same exclamations year after year, some of which I said myself as a child as we are transported for just a brief bit of time to another Christmas world.

We have stockings that we hang on the mantle, handmade ornaments that we hang with pride, nativity sets that the kids set out and arrange to make sure that the sheep can see the baby Jesus.  We fill the house with the sounds of times remembered. As each year passes and the kids get older we make new memories as we decorate and spread Christmas around our house.

When I was a kid, we rarely ever ate out at a restaurant.  It just wasn't something that anyone did regularly.  So, when my parents started the tradition of going OUT for breakfast at a restaurant on Christmas Eve, I thought that I had died and gone to heaven!  I fondly remember specific restaurants that we have eaten our Christmas Eve breakfasts at.

A few years ago, I began the tradition of giving the kids a new book and letting them open that gift on Christmas eve.  Choosing a special book for each one of them is so fun for me!

Traditions are such a special part of our holiday season.  I'm so thankful that we have old ones and  new ones.  They add so much to this time of celebration.