Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Heritage Part I

Starting the day after Thanksgiving we begin our series of traditions for Christmas or the Advent. I'm not sure why this part is so important to me, perhaps it is because I lost my parents at a young age and it was challenging to hold onto traditions. Nonetheless, they are important, whether they are passed down from generation to generation or not, these are the memories I know my children will hold dear.

It starts with the trimming of the tree. Since Mike and I were married in December, for my bridal shower my friends and family showered me with a wishing well full of ornaments..special ornaments, and every year on our anniversary, we would purchase one as a memory. Our first tree was beautiful, it included all those ornaments, plus all the ones Mike had received every Christmas since the time he was born. His Mom made, or purchased an ornament every year for he had a box of 25 ornaments plus some special family heirlooms to hang on our first tree.
The point is, every ornament has a story and every year those stories are told. For example, I have always loved my mother-in-law hand made our wedding favors (like the one above) and included instruments. I loved being able to give an ornament as a wedding favor...every year I have a friend tell me she has hung her ornament on her tree and she prays for us each time...that was 21 years of hanging that one ornament and praying for my marriage. Pretty amazing.

Then throughout the years we've received some pretty special ornaments from friends and family, I can still tell you (even when they are not labeled with names) who gave each ornament to each person.

Some were from my students from when I was a teacher, so many of them now are ones that my children have made and it is so much fun remembering the stories behind each one.

Some brought tears to our eyes this year because of loved ones that have gone and won't be here to celebrate this year. But in the end, it is precious to recall the special people and moments in our lives..much like laying down of stones to remember our past and what God has done. Every year a different child get to place the angel on the top...this year as you can see from the first was Shane...they consider it such an honor. :)
Ahhh, the finished product. My favorite part is when we all come in from looking outside our window and we sit down in the peaceful room and there is always a hush of awe...I love that part. If I could capture that in a little time capsule I would. Quietly listening to the VonTrapp Family singers or Bing Crosby as we stare at the is beautiful.

 The other traditions that we have are just as fun...we try to read a Christmas book every day,

 Do a fun little Christmas devotion, and yes, there is the musical advent calendar. I think this might be on its last legs. A precious family gave this to us when it was the twins first Christmas. We have used it ever kind of drives my husband bonkers because the sound quality is really shot, but we love it!

We hang the this too. I wonder if my children will ever get too old for this stuff...I just wonder.

Finally, this is another tradition...baking cookies. This year I only made 2 cookies that I "traditionally" make...the rest were new recipes and I even created my own for one of the cookies. We delivered 8 trays of cookies and sang carols at every door. Next year...Shane really wants to deliver more..not sure how I'm going to accomplish that. We are all out of cookies...its a good thing we have a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve...we make cupcakes for that.

There are more traditions that we try to hold onto, watching Christmas movies, having Starbucks and looking at Christmas lights and of course more to follow on Christmas Eve..which is why I had to bang out this blog before Christmas Eve...that is a whole blog of its own.

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