Do you have a holiday tradition? Thanksgiving starts the holiday season of food, family, and all the crazy things families do to celebrate the holidays. As for our family, we have a few things we do, but as my kids get older I want to focus more on the time I spend with them and less on the things I get them.
Traditions create memories, don’t you agree? I know that when I think about my own Christmas’s, I don’t remember the presents I received, I remember Christmas Eve services at my great Grandma and Grandpa Volker’s church. I remember going to their house after the service and all the family (there was always a LOT of us!) and the amazing food. (My great aunts were FABULOUS cooks!! They would use Christmas Eve to debut their latest recipe and it was ALWAYS great!) I remember all the laughter in that crowded house. My great-grandpa Volker was a character! He always had some little trinket, mind-scratching game, or gag gift to get the grandkids. My aunts and uncles were great story tellers and would entertain us with jokes and stories all evening. I also remember Christmas at my Grandma and Grandpa Newell’s house. I swear Grandma and Grandpa had the LONGEST table they would set out to hold the whole family. I remember Grandma and Grandpa sitting in their chairs and opening their presents. I remember them loving anything we got them no matter what it was. I remember Grandma’s angel food cake and peppermint ice cream. (To this day, it just isn’t Christmas for me today until I’ve had a bowl full of peppermint ice cream!) I remember Christmas morning with my own family at our house. I remember helping mom set the table for Christmas dinner. I remember how pretty it always looked and knowing the day was special because we would light candles when we ate! Again, when I think about Christmas, I never remember the presents given. I remember the people. I remember the time spent with these people….some of these people I don’t get to spend the holidays with anymore so these memories are all the more special to me.
Now I am working on creating my own holiday traditions with my own family. Currently, the weekend after Thanksgiving the family decorates for Christmas together. (My kids start out with gusto helping, but Mom usually finishes by herself! Maybe someday we’ll finish together…a mother can dream, can’t she?!) We always find an evening sometime in December to go Christmas light gazing. Our trip always includes a hot beverage with travel mugs full of hot chocolate from home or a Starbucks treat (if Mom has any gift cards!!) There is a “Christmas house” not far from where we live that gets EXTREMELY decorated with lights AND the lights are set to music. Though it is the same house, lights and music every year, I love it. (And honestly, I think I might be disappointed if they changed it!) At the very beginning of the month of December my sister and brother-in-law produce a Christmas musical at their church and we always find a night to attend. My kids love going because their cousins are there either to watch or perform. It’s a family event – literally!
I often wonder what my boys will remember when they are older about our Christmas traditions. I know already they love their family time. Just this week my oldest asked me, “Mom, where are going for Thanksgiving this year? Will we go to Momo and Papa’s? Grandma K’s? or are we staying home?” When I told him we’d be going to Grandma K’s this year his response was, “YES! I was worried we were going to be stuck at home without any family!” I couldn’t help but laugh. Thanksgiving or Christmas isn’t any fun and it isn’t meaningful if you don’t get to spend it with your family…no matter who your family is or which side of the family you spend it with.
As we begin today with the holiday season, I hope you are able to spend it with loved ones. I also hope you and your family are able to create priceless memories and traditions for years to come.