I absolutely love Christmas. It is the time of year for giving, family, and holiday traditions. I looked forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day every year just for the traditions we had.
On Christmas Eve, we would dress in our Sunday best and head out to church as a family (grandma + grandpa included), followed by dinner at Applebee’s, driving around to look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood, and then opening gifts from Mom + Dad, Grandma + Grandpa. My dad would get a fire going in the fireplace and turn on Manheim Steamroller + my Aunt Janice’s high school (?) Christmas concert. Before bed, we would turn on the news so Dave Murray could tell us just where Santa was heading so we could make sure we were in bed on time. We would fall asleep to the sound of Christmas at the Vatican on TV as my parents put out our presents from Santa and wake up in the morning to see exactly what he had left us. We would spend Christmas Day in Illinois at my Great-Aunt Mary’s house and then head off to my other Grandma + Grandpa’s to open gifts with my very large extended family on my mom’s side.
(Warning Family Members: The following pictures are hard to look at – except for the 1st one. I miss my grandparents and dog soooo much!)
The traditions from my childhood have shifted quite a bit from back then. Church as a family soon became Mom + Dad sitting by themselves (with Matt once we started dating/got married) as my brother or I were (are) singing in the choir or playing in the orchestra or handbell choir. We no longer eat at Applebee’s because I hate that they have very few vegetarian choices. My grandparents are no longer living and my brother and sister-in-law travel to Nebraska every year to spend time with her parents. We spend Christmas morning with Matt’s family and then head off to my uncle’s to open presents with my very large extended family on my mom’s side.
With a new baby, our traditions will be changing yet again. From traditions with our extended family to traditions in our own little family. We will still be going to church with my parents, spending Christmas Day with Matt’s family, and heading off to my uncle’s after that. But, our home traditions will be new + special to us.
The one tradition I want MacKenna to remember above all the rest is just exactly what this holiday is all about: that little baby who came into this world to die for our sins.
She will still know the magic of Santa but not without him teaching her a little about what this holiday is really all about. Santa will only be bringing her 3 gifts to our house to symbolize the 3 gifts the wise men brought to Jesus in the manger. I don’t want the true meaning of Christmas to get lost in the whimsy + magic of Santa but I also don’t want her to miss out on that part of childhood.
I’m excited to celebrate our first Christmas as a family and pass on these new traditions to our little girl. Hopefully when she is my age, she will look back on the traditions we started with her and incorporate them with her own children.
And although you beliefs + traditions might be different from mine, I want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday! I hope you enjoy the traditions with your family as much as I enjoy them with mine!
What traditions do you have with your family this holiday season?