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Traditions

by Rachel

honestly

December 2, 2013

Traditions

When I think of traditions, my mind immediately goes to the song from Fiddler on the Roof and I hear Tevye singing in his booming voice. Ahhhh, tradition!

Admittedly, tradition isn’t nearly as prevalent in my own life as it was to the Jews of Anatevka. Traditions are a key part of many families, and in our family, holiday traditions are important. We host an annual 4th of July BBQ, turkey must be eaten on Thanksgiving and birthdays are a big deal.

This is our first Christmas with Reagan. And although I know she won’t remember it, my husband and I are in the throes of making lots of “tradition” decisions - traditions will we keep, traditions we will let go, new traditions to start. There are a lot of decisions.

Hello darling, welcome to being the parent.

In my husband’s family they always opened stocking stuffers before breakfast on Christmas morning – keep! My family always ordered pizza for Christmas Eve… and we’ll probably let this one go (at least on the years we aren’t with my family for Christmas). Both families allowed the kids to open one present on Christmas Eve – we’re keeping that one but making it our own by calling it the Christmas Eve Box.

Some of the traditions we start this year will last for years, and some will probably be dropped as Reagan gets older. Plus, we hope to have more children who will inevitably help shape who we are as a family, and what our Christmas looks like.

Traditions are important and as much as I love tradition, I never want our traditions to become more important than our family itself. I want to be flexibility in how we celebrate so that everyone can feel like they are a part. (What if Reagan is gluten-intolerant and can’t eat pizza, or what if my husband gets a job that requires him to work on Christmas day?)

Ultimately, we want to be intentional in keeping the focus of the season on Jesus’, so attending church on Christmas Eve is important to us, as well as reading the nativity story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20). Because, really, that’s what Christmas is about, and what truly bonds our family together.

What traditions are you going to keep or add this Christmas season?

Share your thoughts

My daughter loves making a Christmas gift for Jesus and singing him happy birthday every year.

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This year we have begun the tradition of the Elf on the Shelf. Also a old tradition is going to church every Christmas Eve and then eat and exchange gifts with my Grandma… this year we won't be with her but still plan on church and a fun dinner.

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Since our boys are old enough now to remember and understand what's going on, we have added the Advent calendar with bible versus talking about and describing Christ. It's wonderful to see their minds at work in soaking it all in.

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These dolls are adorable!

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We celebrate Christmas eve with my husband's parents, our girls love spending time with grandma and papa, then we drive around looking for all the houses that are decorated. Our oldest loves to see all the houses lit up for Christmas and our baby loves to rock to Christmas music. I'm thinking pajamas and hot cocoa right before the car ride and then to bed when we get home.

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driving around in pj's sipping hot choc. / choc milk while listening to Christmas music and searching for the best decorated house.

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Love that!

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New Christmas Jammies on the night we decorate the tree

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I love that! Our children's first gift is new pajamas opened on Christmas Eve.

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Ornaments and PJs on Christmas Eve

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Swedish Christmas Eve!

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Ornament shopping with my children for new on tree, baking with family, watching movies with family

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Cookie baking with my grandma, mom, and sister is one of my favorite Christmas traditions!

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We are still working on tradition of our own since oldest is three! I can not wait to read what the others are doing!

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Our church held an Advent Wreath workshop where the kids got to make their own wreath, and we were given a devotional and calendar with activities. Although we have done the Advent wreath before, my 7yo son is so excited about leading the prayers this year, singing carols and doing other activities each evening.

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We always go to the Christmas Eve service and then come home and open presents.

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My mom was always so good at making sure we had reindeer food, and plenty of cookies for Santa before we went to bed. We were allowed to open one present from the stocking on Christmas Eve, and presents were opened as soon as we woke up the next morning. My favorite tradition is curling up on the couch to watch all of the Christmas movies. We usually had a big tin of tri flavored popcorn and hot chocolate as a staple during holidays. The joy my mom exuded throughout the season is something that I will never forget. =)

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Last year we simplified Christmas and the boys only get 5-6 gifts. Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read, and an educational gift from Santa. We might throw in a family gift (board game or movie).

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That's great. We've been thinking about how to keep Christmas gifting simple -- I love what you've got going on.

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I'll be honest, I saw it on Pinterest. It worked really well last year. Grandparents and other family do a fine job loading up on other gifts, which I try to encourage to be an experience or an outing. I want to teach my boys that Christmas isn't about toys/gifts. Hard to do in today's consumer driven world.

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We also do minimal gifts... We get them what they need, and then something fun!

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We ride the Christmas Train at huckleberry, and sing carols at the Tree lighting Ceremony on opening weekend. On Christmas Eve we receive a special package from the Elves. It is PJS and a Christmas book. We wear the PJs to the family Christmas party and when we return home we read the book and are ready for bed. On Christmas we enjoy a Christmas brunch with the other side of our family where we serve birthday cake and sing to our Savior!

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Growing up, we'd have a wrapped box under the tree throughout December with a slit to put money in. It was a present for Jesus that we would donate at the end of December. I'd forgotten until I read your post. Love the idea of the birthday cake :)

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We are also in the midst of making traditions this year. So far, picking out a tree together and making cookies with the kids made the cut. We also like to go to a late Christmas eve service together and with friends.

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We have a few traditions plus a few I didnt realize I started till my girls point out I didn't do that particular thing. We make a Happy Birthday Jesus cake. Scotch eggs and special hamm sandwiches. Plus go to christmas Eve service. And just family time!

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We read the Sparkle Box book and give gifts to Jesus all December long. We open the box on Christmas morning and reflect on the gifts we've given him through the season.

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Since Christmas is so hectic with all the family visiting and visitors we normally have a FAMILY Christmas Eve. We have a big breakfast. The girls help me bake and all the kids decorate cookies. We play games and read Christmas books. During dinner we discuss all the blessing the year has brought to our family (nothing to big or too small to thank god for)! We are going to start giving the kids one gift that night. They will include a set of PJS, hot chocolate, and a movie type snack. We will all have hot chocolate and snacks while watching a movie as a family.

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We read Bible verses each evening in Advent. We also go to church each Wednesday in Advent. We also decorate our Christmas tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

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We pull out a variety of Christmas books - this year we are reading a Christmas children's devotional too. We do the tree & baking & decorating - and participate in several Christmas programs through school & church.

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We read an advent verse every morning and a Christmas book every night.

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I wrap up Christmas themed books (i.e.: "Humphrey's First Christmas" and "God Gave Us Christmas") and we open one each day of December up to Christmas. Afterwards, I wrap them up again and store them away for next year. My girls love it, and I would strongly recommend it to other mothers. I got the idea from a speaker at one of our past MOPs meetings who spoke on "Redeeming The Season". P.S.: Three daughters + Three dolls = hoping for the win on this one!

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Fun idea!

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My mom always let my sister and I skip a day of school to stay in our pj's and bake cookies and decorate all day!

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My favorite tradition in my home is decorating the tree because everyone must participate while wearing a Santa hat or reindeer antlers and singing Christmas songs. ALL my siblings and families still go to my parents' home mid Christmas morning for a late breakfast, gift exchanges, and late lunch. Nothing beats all of us under one roof, no matter how chaotic :)

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Our homemade advent calendar http://dowdeyfamily.blogspot.com/2012/11/celebrating-advent.html

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I love our tradition of making the big guy some cookies with my girls (and now boy!) and then they get to open 1 present, which is always new Christmas jammies to put on, and we end the evening by reading the story in the bible (in the children's version for now)!!

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Last year we started Elf on the Shelf and my kids love it! I am sharing all of our elf's adventures @themommyteacher on Facebook or www.themommyteacher.com :-)

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We do the Elf on the Shelf, advent calendar, and every year I take them to get an ornament for the tree. I put on the bottom of the box what year and why they picked the one they did. When they get married I will give them their box with all their ornaments that they picked for their christmas tree!

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We do the Story of Christmas Advent Calendar every day with the children. We just got a new one this year that each piece of the story is an ornament, so we will hang it on the tree each day after we read it. We also make ornaments every year that have our family photo on them. They are different each year. We send one to grandparents and great grandparents and we keep one for each of our children and one for my husband and I.

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We are still working on figuring our traditions out since we are so far away from family. My husband and daughter made their own Advent Calender, and that is something we will keep doing!

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We have lots of traditions,but one of my favorites is going as a family to pick out a Christmas tree.

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I am hoping to get to a live nativity scene this year. If we enjoy it we might make it a tradition for our family.

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I think it's hard to make your own family traditions, while honoring the ones of your extended family. And it's also a hard balancing act to make sure you are honoring the TRUE meaning of Christmas along with the secular fun stuff. We always read the Christmas story before opening gifts. We also do some fun Santa activities, like going to a Santa breakfast. My children are still young (3 and 10 months), but I want to make sure they understand about giving to others.

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Our favorite traditions are A) New Pajamas on Christmas Eve so that the Christmas morning pictures are extra adorable. B)Clam Chowder on Christmas Eve after our church service. C) putting together a Lego set as a family on Christmas Day.

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My husband would LOVE adding a Lego tradition :)

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Traditions shared by my new Christian family are so importatnt to me! I was not raised in a christian home so everything we do we learn from our church family and fellow believers!

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