What Are Your Holiday Traditions?

NativityThere is very little I love more than a good family tradition. And I really love it when my two year old recognizes one. We decided to make backyard S’mores today so off traipsed the Woodsman and the two munchkins. They headed to our little local store to pick up marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey’s bars. Recognizing the ingredients, the clerk asked them if S’mores were in the works. The two year old replied, “We goin’ campin’!” At just two years of age, he already associates S’mores with our family camping experiences.

My six year old is at that great age where she is really beginning to identify with our family’s unique character. I love it when she recognizes something that is meaningful to us and correctly interprets it. For instance, she has been told stories of my childhood nickname – “Dude” – (I know, I know…it’s a long story…) Anyway, she knows that I was often called that by family members. So, the other day, I called her by her nickname and she immediately answered back, “Yes, Dude?” I almost fell off my chair because I was laughing so hard!

As we head into this holiday season, I am reflecting more than usual on family traditions. One year recently I decided to count down for advent by posting on Facebook every day a different Christmas tradition that our family keeps. I not only came up with 24 to post, I could have kept on posting. Our family has a ton of Christmas traditions. I won’t post 24 today, but here a few that we love:

  1. When we set up our decorations we set up the nativity scene. On the opposite side of the room, we set up the three wise men. Every day the wise men travel a bit closer. On Christmas Eve they finally reach the baby Jesus.
  2. We have a small wooden manger and some straw that goes in it. The manger is set up next to a pile of straw. Throughout the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, every time someone in our household does some kind act for someone else they can put a piece of straw into the manger. The goal is for the manger to be full of straw for the baby Jesus by Christmas Eve.
  3. On Christmas Eve each child gets to open one gift. They are always games that we play that night until everyone is just too tired to keep their eyes open anymore. 🙂

What about you? What holiday traditions do you and your family keep? I’d love to hear about them. Maybe we’ll add some new ideas to our list!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “What Are Your Holiday Traditions?

  1. Tonya,

    Your tradition of moving the wise men into position over the holiday season came to you in a thread that began with my mom, continued with me, then you and will probably be passed to your daughter.

    That tradition didn’t begin when I was a child. The history of the tradition is this:

    After I married, Mom and I were invited to a ceramic shop by a friend. We were able to pour our own pieces as well as clean and paint them before they were fired. For months Mom worked at the process of creating each individual piece of a nativity set. Hours and hours and more hours and hours went into producing the nativity set which you now proudly display each year.

    The ear broken from the donkey’s head was glued back by my dad more than once. The other cracks and chips, the glued pieces and the annual opening of the nativity box are all part of the tradition which are perhaps as heart warming as the act of placing each piece just so.

    Beyond the retelling of the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus there is the familial retelling of the birth of a nativity set. One woman expressed her joy of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth by painstakingly over many months of hard work (with hands which were already beginning to show the signs of finger bending arthritis) by creating the assumed players at the event.

    Mom’s love for Jesus is almost palpable in the handling of the various components of the ceramic nativity set she created to look as if they had been carved from wood.

    The tradition of finding suitable places for the wise men to spend a few days on their way to the manger is a happy one which forces creativity especially when a 2 year old occupies the home.

    Your posts keep getting better and better! Way to grow!

    Love, Mom

  2. Way to make me cry this morning, Mom! Thanks for sharing, “The Rest of the Story!” I love you!

  3. That is a wonderful tradition. Since our daughter is young, we don’t have any holiday traditions. I really hope to start some traditions this year. This year we are getting our first real Christmas tree and maybe it will become a tradition!

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