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Christmas Family Traditions

Christmas Family Traditions

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year; somehow mom and dad made sure we knew it.  The season began after thanksgiving with the ceremonious decorating of the Christmas tree.  We used the same 5’ tree every year, the same passed down ornaments we made in grade school, the same wooden stars that mom bought in a flower shop in Germany.  We laughed at our clothespin reindeers and glittered self-portraits, poking fun is one thing we sisters did best.  The Beach Boys and Alvin and the Chipmunks played on loop until the whole house was covered in our version of Christmas joy.  Mom had a handmade advent calendar that was stuffed with three chocolate kisses for each day, one for each of us.  On December 5, we each would put one boot on the front porch for St Nicholas’ visit.  If we had been good, we got candy and gifts in our boot!  The house would smell like cookies, the three of us would help mom make a ton of different kinds in different shapes.  We would give them to neighbors, teachers, friends, and even Santa Claus!  We went to church on Christmas Eve; watched where Santa was on the evening news.  We put out cookies and milk for Santa, with a couple of carrots for Rudolph.  Then my sisters and I would all sleep in the same bed that night; giggling, singing carols, and talking until dad had enough. Our family was always quite close.  Yet there was something about Christmas that made us even closer.

At the Lucas home, we have traditions, too, that are starting to emerge.  Although we cut down our own tree at a Christmas tree farm, we too do it the day after Thanksgiving.  Some of my childhood ornaments are on our tree now.  And even though we have homemade ornaments, each of our four kids choose a new ornament to add to the tree every year.  We celebrate St. Nicholas day too, and anyone who knows me will tell you I love to bake!  We have two little mischievous elves that Santa sends to ensure good behavior at the Lucas house.  We have Friday family movie nights in December, where we all watch a Christmas movie together.  We have a Jesse tree that goes through the Bible, relating it to the season, each story has an ornament we place on the tree together.  We go to church on Christmas Eve, and we always have homemade cookies for Santa.

At the Sumner home, we were blessed with our son Joshua a little over a year ago.  It’s been fun to dream about what traditions we would carry on when we started a family.  We are just now starting to carry those out. Each year just after Thanksgiving, we pack up the family and drive to a Christmas tree farm to pick out our very own Christmas tree. It was something special that Jonathan always did growing up. Each year we purchase an ornament to go on that tree that symbolizes a special moment that happened during the year. We always attend service on Christmas Eve.  After, we cuddle up and watch the best Christmas Movie of all time—“Home Alone.”  We are looking forward to new traditions that we plan to start by baking Christmas cookies for Santa and celebrating the season with mom’s German Advent Windmill. Most of all, I’m looking forward to reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to Joshua for his second year.

It’s funny how a tradition is.  How a smell of a cookie or a glimpse of a wooden star ornament could recreate a memory.  Our mom passed away this year.  Normally those things wouldn’t have stood out as much.  It isn’t the tradition that really matters; it isn’t whether you have an elf on the shelf or you bake cookies.  It’s about the feeling behind it, the love you feel from those moments.  For our family, we won’t get to do those special traditions with our mom.  Those memories that we still laugh about, we now adore as treasures we won’t experience again this side of heaven.  We feel this awesome responsibility to pass them down to our children, so they will always remember how much they are loved, just by seeing a wooden Christmas tree ornament.  After all, isn’t that the same way we feel when we see the cross?  Christmas is about showing each other how much you are loved, because our Father loves us.