Family members who remember very little from the past, sometimes find that memories are stirred at Christmastime as they celebrate family traditions. They are often the very ones who started the traditions we celebrate today. Even though they appear to have no memories or connections to the past, we don’t know what may be stirring in their minds as they listen to Christmas music, hear the sounds of laughter as children open gifts, and get a taste of those holiday recipes.
Christmas eve service
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is attending the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve, singing Christmas carols as candlelight flickers and fills every dark corner of the sanctuary. Greeting friends with “Merry Christmas!” and hearing the story that never gets old, of a baby born in a manger – these are the things we love. We leave the church, having been reminded of the true reason for this Christmas season…so often lost in the hustle and bustle of attending parties, making lists, shopping, and wrapping.
Christmas eve gift
The simple traditions, for me, are the ones that have created the sweetest memories. One of these traditions in our family is called “Christmas Eve Gift”. Our family has been playing this game for many generations.
This is the definition:
“The tradition is similar to the “Christmas gift” tradition, but occurs on Christmas Eve. The person being told “Christmas Eve gift!” is expected to present the person saying it to them with a small present, traditionally candy or nuts.”
So, it’s very important to each person to be the first to say this to another family member, and we go to great lengths to be sure we win this game! The funny thing is that none of us actually give the gift; we just want to be the first to say the words!
more traditions and memories
Many of our traditions revolve around old family recipes, beginning with enchiladas on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, we have dressing with the ham and turkey, and every year we wonder why we only have this during the holidays. Besides delicious, melt-in-your-mouth pecan tarts, we enjoy having warm sausage balls, fresh apple cake, hot apple cider, pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, and Grandma’s homemade fudge and Mexican wedding cookies.
We still carefully unpack the white crocheted snowflakes and angels and hang them on our Christmas trees. The crocheted snowmen still find their places on a special shelf. We remember those who made the ceramic nativity set, as well as the ceramic Santas, as they are gently pulled from their storage boxes and carefully placed out of reach of little fingers. I love imagining these boxes being tenderly unpacked for many years to come…by the very ones who cannot reach them this Christmas.
for all generations
My mother-in-law, who was so instrumental in our family traditions, is in Heaven this Christmas…as my friend said, “celebrating her first year in Jesus’ presence, ‘adoring Him’ in ways we can only imagine.” We will remember her and the other mothers and grandmothers who taught us about celebrating Christmas, as we teach our children and grandchildren. Long after we are gone, others will still be celebrating these family traditions, creating memories for future generations.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
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