Celebrating Christmas: Treasures and Traditions
Almost everyone has treasures and traditions surrounding their Christmas celebrations. Some of these get handed down generation to generation. Others get left behind as children grow up, leave home, get married and make their own treasures and traditions.
These things play an important role in reminding us of family, loved ones, heritage and why we celebrate Christmas.
Here are a few of my treasures and traditions:
Ornaments! I love ornaments. I give them as gifts every year. I saved all the ornaments given to our children, and when they moved away I gave those to them to start their own decorating with their treasures. I remember when I quit using the boxes of store balls on my tree because I had enough of our own treasures—purchased as I travel and gifts from others—to beautifully cover our tree. Including a host of angels singing the glory of God!
Stockings! In my growing up family we opened gifts on Christmas Eve, and discovered what Santa had brought on Christmas morning—and what he had left in our stockings. When my daughters were born, my mother made beautiful needlepoint stockings for each one. When our son joined us years later, my mother could no longer do the needlepoint, so I ordered a needlepoint stocking for him. Now I have 11 stockings hanging down our staircase banister—for our kids, their spouses and their kids! And my favorite part is to make sure each one has a special surprise in it!
Nativities! This is a later treasure for me. I think my first nativity was an olive wood one that I purchased in Bethlehem before I was married. My children and their children have loved playing with it, though baby Jesus disappeared, but has been found again. Then my mother gave me a large, beautiful nativity she was no longer using, and my collection began. Because of my travels and the kindness of others, I am able to display the birth of our Savior with crèches from Mexico, New Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Ghana, Thailand, El Salvador and many others nations, uniting us with brothers and sisters worldwide.
Chili and tamales! Christmas Eve dinner of chili and tamales is common in Texas, and became something of a tradition in my growing-up home. So I began that same tradition in our family about 20 years ago. Finding good Tex-Mex tamales has been challenging in Florida, so now I order them from the Texas Tamale Warehouse. And I make a great Texas chili—no tomatoes in Texas chili.
Swedish pancakes! Lest Steve feel neglected by my overemphasis on my Texas heritage—we do have an entire room devoted to things Texan—I have made Swedish pancakes for him on Christmas morning since before we were married. Our kids still look forward to that breakfast—served with lingonberries, sour cream or cool whip and sausages. I make them a day or two before, since it takes a long time.
The Christmas story! Of course, our most important tradition is reading or telling or talking about the story of Jesus and why He came! We are so grateful that He came and all that means to us and to our world!
May you celebrate the birth of our Savior with many treasures and traditions of your own!
What about you? What are some of your treasures and traditions?