When it comes to the Christmas Season, each family has its own traditions they hold near and dear to their hearts. I recently had my students reflect upon their family’s holiday traditions and it was amazing to watch how they came alive as they shared stories of special meals, trips, decorations and gifts. What I had thought would be part of our morning welcome routine turned into almost a half an hour of laughter and warm feelings.
Our home is no different than any other and we too have a number of holiday traditions.
Obviously, the decorating of the tree is one of them. Our tree would never grace the pages of Martha Stewart’s Living, but it is certainly a reflection of our family’s story. The ornaments that hang from our tree tell of the places we have been, the adventures we have had and the ones we have loved. Decorating our tree seems to take forever as we spend most of the afternoon reminiscing upon the stories that are linked with each ornament. In fact we have a dated ornament for each year that my husband and I have been together.
This is the ornament I gave to him on the first Christmas we were dating. This is usually one of the first ornaments to be hung on the tree and its hanging is always followed by a kiss between the two of us.
Our holiday village is another element of our holiday decorating. We purchased this set years ago, before either of the girls were born, but I will admit this is the first year that we have ever had it lit up. Usually I set it up, but this year we left that task to our daughters. They found just the perfect spot for it and happily went through the trouble of figuring out how to light the whole thing up. That first night after it was set up, we all just stood there in the dark marvelling at how pretty it was.
The reindeer sparkles are another of our favoured traditions. Obviously, these photos were not taken this year, but they are a reflection of just how long standing some of our traditions are. As I reflect back upon these images, my eyes prickle and my throat thickens as I think back on little girls in boots and PJs outside throwing around oats and sparkles to lead Santa’s reindeer to our home.
We have been decorating gingerbread houses since my oldest was about three. Over the years this decorating tradition has evolved into a gingerbread house party. We invite a number of other families over to the house for an afternoon of treats and decorating. What an excellent way to share some Christmas joy!
Here is the gingerbread house my youngest created yesterday.
We are finding that our oldest daughter’s approach to the holidays is shifting a little. She is expressing less and less of an interest in watching Christmas specials and movies, and when left to her own devices she decided to create her gingerbread house as a crime scene, including blood splatter on the tree! Nonetheless, she did participate in the event, and really isn’t that the point?
In early December we decorate the house and then on January 1st, we eat it officially marking the end of the holiday season.
Our traditions bind us together as a family and at the very least they will give our children some stories to share with their own families when they have grown and are starting their own traditions.
Wishing you all a joyous holiday season.