Christmas traditions can be such a special part of your family celebrations for your children and grandchildren, both kids or adults. Whether it's something you do with your family, a special meal or dessert that you prepare together or that special ornament or stocking, it can build an important legacy to pass down from generation to generation and create lasting memories. This week, we are sharing some of our favorite traditions. Remember, it's never too late to start a new tradition. In fact, the more, the merrier!
When my kids were young, we would mark the Holiday season with cherished traditions. Christmas would encompass the whole month of December. We would do the same events year after year, and they loved it. We never missed a Nutcracker performance; we always attended the Christmas Carol at the Herberger Theater. There was the cookie baking, the Christmas Eve hike, the Glendale Glitters holiday lights, but their favorite was the visit from Santa to our home. The doorbell would ring and in came Santa with his famous "Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas"!
I have continued this tradition with my grandchildren. Every year the grandkids come over in their Christmas PJ's, and Santa arrives with presents. The kids gather around him as he reads the Night before Christmas. It is magical!
We have added, to this tradition, with a visit from the Grinch. The kids love it, well, at least most of them do. My 4-year-old granddaughter wanted to call the police. She was worried he would steal the presents and Christmas ham!
Enjoy your Holiday season with your family traditions.
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King."
I’m such a sentimentalist when it comes to creating lasting memories. As soon as our daughter was born, I would envision the day she would be old enough to start
a Christmas tradition between just her and I. Of course I dreamt it would be a yearly Mother Daughter tradition. And so it began when our daughter Meghan was 5 years old, just the two of us would attend the Nutcracker Ballet at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix.
Our daughter loved ballet. At just three years old she began taking ballet lessons at a dance studio in Texas. You shouldn’t be surprised that I still have her ballet slippers and the tutu she wore for her first recital (remember I’m very sentimental). One of the recitals she performed in with her dance company when she was five was the Nutcracker. She performed so well that she was actually recruited by the Arizona Ballet to perform as one of the little girls who danced out from under Mother Ginger’s enormous hoop skirt. If you’ve never seen the Nutcracker, the appearance of larger-than-life Mother Ginger is in Act II and never fails to delight. Sadly, it was a huge commitment we couldn’t make so our little ballerina didn’t get to perform on the big stage.
It was then that I knew what our annual tradition would be! I would take our daughter every year, to the Nutcracker ballet, just the two of us! We sat in the first few rows and her face would light up as she watched the ballerinas. It has been something we both treasure and look forward to. So every year, I make dinner reservations, we dress up, and we share what’s on our hearts over a delicious meal, a glass of wine, and then head over to the ballet!
This Christmas tradition is one that we both treasure together. We look forward to the day her daughter Ava (our only granddaughter) turns five years old and can join us at the ballet. And for that, I’ll be forever grateful. We do have several other very special Christmas traditions that we anticipate every year as a family such as baking Christmas cookies together, our Annual Family Christmas Party which has grown to more than 35 of us, Christmas at the Princess, and our Pajama Party with Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving to sing songs, read the kids a story, and deliver a small gift to them!
The traditions of Christmas are lasting because they’re made of love!
Merry Christmas to you and your families!
When we moved to Colorado two years ago, it was the first year that we bought an artificial tree. It was a hard sell to my husband as he loves the smell of a live Christmas tree, but I must say I thoroughly enjoy having my tree up and decorated right after Thanksgiving. No worries about the upkeep of a live tree.
Typically, we decorate the tree as a family and hang up our stockings. Check out my blog post on knitting Christmas Stockings. Honestly, the gals in the family participate in this more than the guys; however, we all love to see where the grandkids will gently place the ornaments and the Christmas picks. The last couple of years my granddaughters have taken over where the glittery Christmas picks will be put on the tree and you know every time it is placed exactly where it needs to be - although if you visit, you might notice that the lower half of the tree is laden with all the shiny ornaments. My daughter in law said last year that I can move them around if I wanted to. In my eyes, the decorations were given lots of thought before placed upon the tree so they are placed perfectly in Gigi's eyes.
One of the many traditions our family has is who will put on the Christmas angel or star. When our kids were little, we took turns, from oldest to youngest and then starting over again until they were grown. We have continued this tradition with our grandchildren. Isabelle, our oldest was our first grandchild to put the star on the tree, last year was Hazel and this year will be Carson Dale. Next year, little miss Sophie will do the honors.
I just love watching my children lift up their little ones to continue this tradition. The excitement, the wonder, the magic and the joy that this, along with the entire season brings to my grandchildren as well as to me is one that is forever etched in my heart. Their joy is my joy!
May the joy of this season bring you wonder, excitement and love! Merry Christmas!
Every year when we start to decorate the tree, I am newly delighted by the many treasured ornaments that our family has. Some were made in grade school, some were gifts and some were passed down from our family. One of my favorite traditions was started by my mom. Each year, she would pick out a Hallmark ornament for each of the grandkids. For my daughter it was usually the Holiday Barbie and for my son, it was always that year’s edition of a famous
football, baseball, or basketball star. She also did it for my husband and me. Jim’s was usually golf-themed and I received a lot of “Gone With the Wind” ornaments. My mom would wrap our gifts and attach the prized ornament to the ribbon on the package. It was such a special thing to do and I want to honor her by carrying on that tradition. I love the Hallmark ornaments because they are often animated, but any kind of ornament will do if it says something special about the recipient. I’m so happy that my granddaughter is now the perfect age to understand this special tradition.
Another thing that we do every year is to have Christmas Eve dinner with a big deli spread of sandwich fixings, dips, appetizers and desserts. We open our family presents on Christmas Eve, so sandwiches and soup served buffet style means very little clean up so that we have plenty of time to start unwrapping presents! Our most traditional dish is called Fisherman’s Chowder (a variation of clam chowder). It’s definitely a requirement in our household on Christmas Eve.
As soon as it’s dark, we light all the Christmas candles around the house, turn on the Christmas music, eat our soup and sandwiches (usually standing around in the kitchen) and inevitably end up telling funny stories about each other. Then we gather around the tree and pose for pictures before the frenzy of opening the gifts occurs. For the little ones in the family, Santa comes later that night and sets up the toys around the tree. I’ll never forget waking up when I was seven, and seeing a bright, shiny bike in front of the Christmas tree.
It’s important to point out that a tradition can be started at any time. I want everyone in our family to remember the “Reason for the Season.” This year, I am thinking of ways we can teach our grandchildren to remember that He is what we are celebrating. Perhaps we will pick a traditional Christmas Carol to sing and follow it with a prayer thanking God for sending His Son to save us.
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas!
Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year! I love everything about it. The smell of cedar and cinnamon permeating the house, the glow of the Christmas tree every time I walk by, the endless Hallmark movies, the beautiful and festive decorations throughout the neighborhoods and even the Christmas Carols that start a little too soon for everyone but me. I feel such joy during the month of December. I love the hustle and bustle of the season. The anticipation of the family gathering to share in the celebration simply warms my heart.
I get to host my family every other year. You know, that "sharing" thing HO HO HO. There are many things we love to do but have done Christmas at the Princess almost every year since the grandkids made their appearance. For those of you that aren't local, the Princess is a resort in Scottsdale that is transformed into a Winter Wonderland every year for the Christmas season.
We usually start this tradition at a favorite restaurant and then spend the evening walking the beautifully decorated pathways, visiting Santa's workshop and riding the train to all the spectacular light displays. There are so many activities to enjoy and participate in. I think the kids and grandkids favorites are the ice skating, sledding and finishing out the evening around a toasty fire making S'Mores. It is such a fun and festive day for all of us.
Christmas Eve is our night of food and fun. King Crab legs followed by a few competitive games of Scrabble or LeftCenterRight always ignite our festive spirits. There is usually a movie playing - some of our favorites are "Christmas Vacation" and "Home Alone". It doesn't matter how many times we have watched them, they always seem to be as entertaining as the first time. I love listening to the contagious laughter of all the kids, big and small.
I can only hope that all the love and laughter of the season creates lasting memories for my
children and grandchildren and that they carry on these traditions we cherish.
Every year I am reminded that, "It's not what's under the tree that matters, it's who is gathered around it."
May all of your holidays be Merry and Bright!!
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