Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas traditions

Last night, Brad and I got into a discussion in the car after a quick trip to Hastings - I brought up the topic of Christmas traditions. I told him that I wanted us to make a special Christmas tradition since it is our first Christmas together. Well, of course he wanted to know my ideas. Before I share my ideas, I need to give y'all a little background information...

When I was a child, Christmas was the biggest and best holiday we celebrated all year long. I was fortunate enough to have my mother at home with me most of my childhood, so I have lots of memories that involve her at Christmastime. I can remember pulling out all the Christmas decorations - but there was a catch. I did not get to hang every ornament or decorate the tree, my mother had a "method" to hanging them, most of the time she told us where to hang them, or we just watched in awe as she turned the tree into some amazing masterpiece.

Anyways, I think that's where I learned all of my decorating skills - from watching a real pro.

We would make hundreds of cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels, butterscotch haystacks, and fudge pies and take them to all of our neighbors and friends. We made ornaments out of this special kind of dough, my mom would bake them, and we would paint them to give out as gifts. And our house, let me tell you - it was the most beautifully decorated house in our county (if I do say so myself!). Once, when I was in the third grade, my mom hosted a mother-daughter tea and cookie swap. Everyone showed up in their best Christmas dresses, and we had the BEST time. That may be one of my favorite Christmas memories.

On Christmas Eve, after going to the Midnight Candlelight Service at church, we begged and begged my parents to let us open one gift - my dad always picked one for us to open, and it always ended up being pajamas, house shoes, or a hat - something like that. Christmas morning was wonderful - my dad would make us cover our eyes before we would get to see what Santa had left. And when we opened our eyes, it was the most exciting site for a child's eyes. Each of us (there are four children in my family) had a stack of presents, and the gifts from Santa would already be opened and ready to play with. I remember one Christmas, I got a Barbie house and a Barbie kitchen set - my mother spent so much time putting the little dishes in the cabinet and making sure the refrigerator was stocked with Barbie food. We would have breakfast together, then visit my Great-Grandmother Harris for the entire family dinner. It was magical, truly magical...and I think that's why I have such fond memories of Christmas.

So, it's very important to me to make sure that when we have children, that we make the holiday special for them. I will admit, my parents definitely went overboard with presents from Santa. It was insane how much we all got. Brad and I talked about the "Three Gifts" idea (for gifts from Santa) - if three gifts were enough for Jesus, surely they'll be plenty for our children. I also love the idea of opening one gift of Christmas Eve - but I hope to make the tradition that the gift is a new set of pajamas :) I love pajamas! I want to make sure that my children truly understand the reason for the season by involving nativity sets, volunteering, and giving to others. I'm sure there are other traditions that we will make with the Warnock family...what traditions/memories do you have from Christmas - I would love to hear!

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