Tradition is defined as an inherited, established, or customary thought, action, or behavior according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. While this sums up what a tradition is, it doesn’t describe the feelings and heart behind traditions because I am not sure that a dictionary can do that. If you ask my family the meaning of tradition they would tell you that it is something that we do because we love doing it and traditions are something we do at specific times. One of these specific times is the Holidays. Our family has some very specific holiday traditions that we do every year that are very important to us and I would love to share them with you today.
The first holiday tradition we have is a new Christmas ornament each year for each of our children. This tradition began in our family when my son was born. We wanted to get him an ornament to celebrate his first Christmas like many new parents do. The more we thought about it, the more we decided that we should do something each year to represent something important that happened through out the year or something that represented a phase or stage he was in that year. We thought it would be really neat someday to look back at each ornament and remember why we chose it for him. Then when our daughter came along, we continued this tradition with her too. Some day when they are old enough to leave home, we will have a special box of ornaments we can give them that represent their childhood. So every year we pick out a new ornament that represents each of our kids and when we put up the Christmas tree for the year, they find a new ornament in their room to hang on the tree. It is something they look forward to and they can’t wait to see what ornament we pick to represent the year for them.
The second holiday tradition we have is a tradition that we started in the last 5 years, but it is one that we all love and we get to bless others with. We used to just bake cookies for us to have on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but a few years ago that all changed. We decided that we wanted to have a family Christmas baking day, but we knew we didn’t need to keep all that we wanted to make. So we decided that we would make some of our favorite Christmas cookie and candy recipes and we would share. The first year we just gave the goodies to our immediate neighbors and then took the extras to family Christmas parties. Each year since then we have expanded our baking so that we can bless more families and it is a blessing to us to give handmade baked goods to friends and families.
The third holiday tradition we have is one that started when I was a child and it is one that we decided to continue with our family, but we have added to it a little. Every year on Christmas Eve we open just one gift. It is new pajamas for each of us. My mom started this with us when we were little kids because we opened Christmas gifts on first thing Christmas morning in our jammies. I always looked forward to this as a child and I thought it would be great to do with our children. My children love this tradition and they look forward to it every year. The part that we added to this tradition for our family is that we wrap a second box (since we have 2 children they each get to open 1 box) and this box has a family Christmas movie and snacks. After we open our boxes, we put on our new jammies and sit down with our snacks to watch our Christmas movie before going to bed. It is just a fun way to have a quiet, calm Christmas Eve and prepare for Christmas.
The fourth-holiday tradition we have is to read the Christmas story directly from the Bible every Christmas morning before we open gifts. We do this to remind our children of the real reason of Christmas. Christmas isn’t about getting gifts for us, it is about celebrating the birth of Jesus.
These are our holiday traditions that we look forward to every year. We love them for what they are to our family and I personally love them because I know that someday my children may do these traditions with their children. That is the beautiful thing about traditions, they live on for generations to come.
Cassandra Holdeman is a homeschooling mama to two wonderful children, one in high school and one in elementary school. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they just recently bought their dream house barn. When they aren’t working on projects around the barn, you can find Cassandra working on crafts or reading a book. Cassandra blogs about their life, their barn, homeschooling, and more at A Glimpse of Normal.