I know that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but it’s a pretty big deal around our house.
I’m currently surrounded by boxes of packed and unpacked baubles, and now that the trees are all up (with one left to decorate) I see the end in sight and can soon just enjoy all the festive prettiness and, ahem, perhaps accomplish some actual spiritual prep…
… which brings me to this list of some of our Christmas traditions (and thank you Leslie for inspiring this post).
“How many trees are you putting up this year?”
That’s the question my cousin asked me at lunch last month. I know it sounds crazy, but we’re at, well, seven decorated trees this year. Yeah, I know… it’s “extra”.
I originally wrote about our multi-tree tradition and how it started here. I also shared about what was our favorite tree in this post. That’s the last tree I have to decorate this year. It takes a while because of the “new tradition” we started last year…
What can I say? You already know we are crazy for lights.
A Nativity Scene in Every Room
Trees and lights are lovely but all the work and hoo ha is a distraction from the simplest of reasons we celebrate: the Savior’s birth.
We make sure each tree room also has a Nativity scene, either one of the hand-made sets each of our children made in grammar school, or one purchased by or gifted to us.
They sometimes get a little swallowed up by the Santa stuff, but like the family they represent, they are always quietly there to call us to the genuine reason for the season.
Twelve Days of Christmas…(Sort of)
There are plenty of reasons why we started doing this when the kids were little, but…we don’t open all of our presents Christmas morning…we make the gifts last throughout vacation.
They open five or so gifts on Christmas Day….then a few the next day, and one or two for several days afterward until they’re gone… Stockings are “opened” last: sometimes on New Year’s Day, sometimes on the last night of vacation before school/college resumes. Everyone takes turns, and everyone watches each other open their gifts.
As little kids, they did NOT (not, not, not) love this tradition. But each year we battled the extended family gift bonanza and just felt it was too overwhelming.
To make it last without overbuying, among the packages they open are the dreaded socks and underwear and less exciting necessities (warm gloves, hat, scarves, pajamas)…as well as their wish-list surprises and wardrobe extras.
They may not have loved it when they were little, but it’s everyone’s favorite thing now…and their learning TO love this tradition is filled with lessons on giving, receiving, and appreciating.
In order for all of this to play out somewhat equally requires a little precarious juggling, organization, and the occasional even-it-up-Post-Christmas shopping trip. But it’s all fun and worth the effort.
Mr. D&D and I have come to love augmenting our purchased decorations with something handmade when we can.
He builds an outdoor manger scene for our backyard Nativity using pallets from the annual rock/stone project, then decorates it with nature finds.
I raid the tree cutting station at Lowe’s for free greenery. Last year I used them to make swags for our windows and Mr. used them for the roof of his Nativity. If you’d like to know more, you can read about it here.
This year we worked together to make something REALLY (!!!) special for our back hallway. Read about it here.
Because we used to celebrate Christmas Eve with one side of the family, and Christmas Day with the other, attending Christmas Mass became something to wedge in where we could. We tried all types of Mass times and were usually frustrated by overcrowded services, exhausted kiddos, having to get there an hour early, or getting there late and standing in the back.
Finally we learned that 8:00 am Mass on Christmas morning was the best time to remember why we celebrate and it put the rest of the day in perspective among all the hoo ha. We get up, get dressed, celebrate the Savior’s birth properly, come back home and get into comfies, and THEN start the gifting.
It’s definitely a crazy busy season! There have been many changes as we’ve tried to navigate our Christmases over the years. Sometimes all you can do is hope the boat stays on course.
It’s definitely a challenge to keep all the hoo ha from overtaking who is the purpose.
Some type of service to others. Lord of the Rings and Band of Brothers binge watching. Festival of Food.
Is there something special YOU’D like to share about your Holiday/Holyday? I’d love to read about it in the comments below.
For other blogger’s traditions, or to add five of your own, please follow this link: