Christmas traditions – old and new
This morning, while watching A Christmas Story as one of my recent Christmas traditions, I started to recall some of the other traditions that have come and gone over the years. Christmas is the one holiday season that creates the greatest traditions between family and friends. Those traditions help bring us together during the season and build a legacy of memories as we get older. Everyone has them, some we cherish and some we try not to remember. Sometimes we borrow traditions from others to add to our own. Regardless, Christmas is a season of traditions.
Our family had several that have evolved over the years. Early memories are of our aluminum Christmas tree with its revolving light wheel to give the tree an ever-changing hue of color. The sound of the motor whirring was music to the ears of my sister and I because under the tree was the bounty waiting for us on Christmas morning. Mom and Dad usually just left the presents under the tree unwrapped for our discovery in the morning. Honestly, wrapping would have been so wasteful since my sister and I would have quickly ditched the casing to get to the really good stuff within.
Of course there was the annual church Christmas pageant we would practice for during the month of December. The most memorable was when my sister and I were the reindeer for Santa’s sleigh (bears for reindeer – haha). As I got older I enjoyed singing in the choir cantata with a variety of themes. One of my favorite was “Home for Christmas,” a collection of traditional Christmas songs.
Our family would always gather with my extended family on my father’s side in Gurdon, AR at my grandparent’s homes, both in the country and in town after they moved. With eight brothers and sisters it was quite a large get-together with plenty of food. My cousins and I would always enjoy our battles in the woods with stick guns and pine cones. You can be so creative with just nature a lot of times.
When my nieces were born and started enjoying Christmas my mom would buy each niece an ornament a year, highlighting their accomplishments in dance or sports. The tree was full of girls in softball outfits or dance costumes. Mom’s promise was that each granddaughter would get their ornaments when they married. That began another tradition with me to always buy mom a few nice ornaments at the after Christmas sales to help backfill her tree when she gave her ornaments away. Now the tree is full of a beautiful collection of ornaments to be left as her legacy.
When I began attending the Methodist church I started going to Christmas Eve services in Arkansas. Growing up our Baptist church never hosted Christmas Eve services, something I now wish we had done. Sitting in church on Christmas Eve singing carols and reflecting on the reason for Christmas really centers you during this season. Now I attend with either my parents or my sister as their churches have Christmas Eve services. It’s a good family experience.
Finally, my sister and her family are starting to build their traditions. One that carries with my family is watching A Christmas Story and all the things we remember growing up. It’s great to see those traditions built as they have some ties back to our family. Yes, we celebrate with mom and dad to keep our family traditions alive but when they pass it’s important to have your own traditions to perpetuate in time. Regardless, threads of traditions carry forward and become a part of the fabric of your life.
Here’s hoping each of you enjoy the traditions you celebrate during this very festive season.