Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Traditions by LeAnne Bristow

Christmas Traditions

I admit, when Jackie asked me to write a post on my favorite Christmas traditions, I was a little stumped. After all, I once wrote a blog for my own website about my complete lack of traditions. It’s not that I have anything against them. They are grand and beautiful and I get really jealous when people post about their wonderful traditions. I just needed to rethink my idea about traditions.
The large family I grew up in was rich in traditions and I looked forward to sharing them with my own family. When my children were young, I had preconceived ideas about what my family should do at Christmas. Of course, they were in direct opposition to what my husband thought. So most of my attempts to start something new were met with half-hearted enthusiasm and eventually died. Attending Christmas Eve service. Nope. Conflicted with the hubby’s family plans and I ended up attending alone. I had to settle for reading the Christmas story to the kids before tucking them into bed. Until they decided they were too big to be read to. Another tradition gone bust. It seemed everything I tried failed.
I told myself that it was fine. I didn’t need any fancy traditions each Christmas to feel like a family. Then this year, something marvelous happened. I discovered that the best traditions are the ones that are born, not forced, and that I’d unintentionally started my own unique family traditions.

I got home from work one night and my husband and daughter had bought a Christmas tree and were waiting for me to get home to decorate it. My daughter was eager to share our tradition of decorating the tree with her own daughter. I’m sure everyone has a certain order to put up decorations, but to my kids, these are hard and fast rules. First you put on the lights. Then the garland. Then the store bought ornaments and last the handmade ornaments. Only certain ones made the cut to be put on the tree. Each item was discussed and remembered and placed in certain spots. I never realized that my own pickiness about where to hang an ornament had become a tradition to my children. Last, of course, came the annual argument over star or angel. We have both and each year they argue over which one goes on top. Some years it’s the angel. This year, the star won out, so my angel gets to sit on the shelf.

For years it bothered me that I didn’t have a nativity set. My grandmother had a very old nativity and it was the first thing we put out when we decorated for Christmas. I must have complained about it every year because one year, my oldest daughter bought me one with her allowance. One of the wise men has disappeared, but it is still one of my most treasured decorations.

There are other decorations that my kids remember as fondly as I remember my grandmother’s. My Christmas music box. The wreath my aunt crocheted for me when I went to college. The miniature Santa Claus figurines that hung on my husband’s tiny Christmas tree when he was in the Army and serving in the Gulf War. Each item is full of memories for my family. Isn’t that what really makes a tradition?
Of course, the biggest and most consistent tradition in my home at Christmas is my amazing ability to procrastinate until Christmas Eve. I’ve never been one for shopping all year and you won’t catch me within five miles of any store on Black Friday. More than once my children have unwrapped a box that contained nothing but a picture of the present that would arrive the next week because their mother couldn’t remember to order it on time.
This year my granddaughter is a year and half and I actually bought a few Christmas presents already. And I can’t to snuggle her in my lap and read her the Christmas story. Maybe I can get her to go to Christmas Eve service???

So here’s to traditions, new and old. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and may the New Year bring many blessings.

**Thanks so much, LeAnne or sharing with us and Merry Christmas!


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