I was going to blog about the traditions that we have in our family, and then I realized that I could probably fill a page with just the things we do around Christmas, so I thought I'd peel that Ongion skin for you this morning. The Christmas season starts for us about 3-4 weeks prior to Christmas.
|Nolan in front of our Christmas tree|
We throw some lights on the house outside, but we don't aim to be the brightest lit house strewn with lawn decorations, timed to music and such. My brother in law down the street, however, strings
lights completely around his house and stages several blow up characters in front too. I've been tempted to just take credit for his decorating, like the guy in this picture did, but he's too far away for me to do this. Our church puts up a giving tree each year, and we participate in it, sponsoring 3 anonymous children so that they might have a better Christmas morning. We volunteer a shift at a Salvation Army kettle on a Saturday prior to Christmas. My wife's family had a winter house fire when she was small, so this is an important tradition for her, to make sure that we think of those less fortunate. Our Boy Scout Troop has a great tradition of spending $400 of their hard earned money and making 40 fruit baskets to distribute to the needy, aged and infirm. It's our 2nd biggest budgeted item each year and this tradition goes back decades and my family has both benefited from this tradition and met some amazing people. I wrote a blog about one of them a while ago, and it's another heartwarming holiday story that you can share (The clothing lady with the one shoe story). That's how we try to keep Christ in Christmas in our house.
We have 2 other traditions that center around my family in the weeks prior to Christmas, our Men's Shopping Night and our Progressive Dinner. Both go back over a decade, with the first being
|5 of my sisters at a Progressive Dinner|
we caravan through a 5 or 6 course meal visiting some of my sibling's homes and viewing their decorations. This is open to all of my immediate family and we get a great turnout each year. I did a blog on this before, see (Our Progressive Dinner). I'm a big fan of this one, especially since it involves 2 out of 4 of the F things that my mother was thankful for, Family and Food, the others are Friends and Faith, but we'll get to those in the next paragraph. Here's a shot of Mom and how she dressed for this event some years. Sometime prior to Christmas my wife, children and I try to sit down and watch my wife's favorite movie "It's a Wonderful Life". We've done this for so long that we all can recite the best lines as they come up and it's a special night for us to snuggle in.
We celebrate Jesus' birth by attending church as a family, mid-day on Christmas Eve. We arrive almost an hour early so that we can sit together, but it's tradition that my sons and I give up our seats to older parishioners or ladies that may be standing just prior to the service. I don't even have to spot the people anymore, both my boys are on high alert for this opportunity to sacrifice a little and to make someone else's Holiday a little brighter. I'm a little beyond getting excited on Christmas morning anymore, my kids are older and I've never liked the commercialism that is so
|Nolan make armadillo eggs for the party|
On Christmas Day, we arise early, get the coffee brewing and gather in our living room for the gift exchange. Santa fills the stockings overnight though for some reason only my wife's stocking stuffers are wrapped each year. A tangerine or orange is placed in foot of the stocking. I always thought this was to take up a lot of room, but this tradition dates back to when citrus was hard to come by in this area in the winter, so it was a special treat to receive an orange in your stocking. The
|Watching a Christmas tree burn|