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making Christmas traditions


There are four days until Christmas, and you know how many people in this house are freaking out? Not one. Not a single one. Mainly because half of us are under the age of 2 and don't know what Christmas is. 

It's hard when you're a mom of young ones not to try to make all the family traditions in the first thirty seconds your kids are alive.  

I'm reminding myself that we don't have to do it all before either of the kids are two years old. It will come. 

I remember so fondly how special my parents made Christmas. We ate chili for supper on Christmas Eve accompanied by plates of crackers and pickles and veggies, and then got dressed in itchy matching dresses our mom made us (staying up until midnight for nights on end, I imagine) for the Christmas pageant at church. 


After it was over, we would nibble on appetizers and try to con our dad into playing a board or card game with us. Then it was off to bed. 

When we were older, my sisters and their husbands slept in the upstairs bedrooms, and I would sleep on the couch. The last thing I'd see every Christmas Eve -- through blind as a bat glass-less eyes -- was the white blur of our mom's beautiful vintage Christmas tree. The glimmering lights -- combined with the smell of fresh pine -- seemed just a little magical in our cozy farmhouse.

In the morning, when we were still young, our dad would announce up the stairs that it was Christmas and time to get up. I was out of bed with teeth brushed in no time flat, sitting on the floor by the tree while Mom made coffee and Dad passed out blankets to keep warm while the house heated up. 

My middle sister -- God bless her -- took what seemed like HOURS to get ready. It was basically Christmas of the next year by the time she had her contacts in and hair done. 


In the meantime, Mom would bring in a tray of cocoa and coffee and muffins and stollen for us to eat while opening presents.

And then, like little pagans, we would skip church (Lord, look on us in mercy.) and spend the morning opening presents, taking turns so that we could all see what each person had received.  

After presents were opened, we cleared away the wrapping paper while Mom cooked a feast -- tantamount to a Cracker Barrel breakfast -- replete with biscuits and gravy and bacon and eggs and grits. 

They are sweet memories, and they're etched in my mind as I think on how to make Christmas special for my own children. 

So as my husband and I start our own family traditions, we, too, will get up Christmas morning and open presents. Then we'll put the kids in itchy clothes and take them to church, where they will rejoice in Christ's birth, the one who came as a lowly child Himself.  

Next year perhaps, we'll come home and eat our own massive brunch, take naps, open a few more presents, and then gather around the piano to sing Christmas hymns, where my farmer will undoubtedly do his best to make everyone else laugh at some point in the singing. 

We will gather with family to eat too much, talk vigorously about the beauty of our faith and confession, and do our best to give at least one horrendous gift that causes everyone else to shrink back in horror and then collapse in giggles. 

We will not panic about everything being perfect or getting done in time. We will simply receive: from our Savior and from one another. 

And it's my hope that while my Christmas tree is not as pretty as my mom's and while I may will never make stollen (because honestly I never liked the taste of it...sorry, Mom.), my children will know that Christ came for us . . . and that is the only part of Christmas that matters -- itchy clothes, Christmas tree lights and all.


  1. Replies
    1. Same to you and your sweet family! (And since the 12 Days of Christmas don't end until Saturday, I'm technically not late. :) )

  2. You are so right.
    Except about the stollen.
    I love that all of you have and are making your own traditions and that you include loving and serving your neighbor in need.

  3. Thank you for this grace-filled reminder. With a 3.5 year old, 20 month and expecting again, I want to make Christmas just like my PK self remembers. But then, I look at my little ones and realize we need to celebrate Jesus' birth in a way we can all enjoy and appreciate. No morning service today, but we'll stay up for the children's service tonight. And open presents in the morning before more church. Store bought cinnamon rolls this morning, and maybe I'll get homemade monkey bread made tomorrow? We shall see. Either way, it will be a joyful Christmas here...and I pray the same for you and your family!

    1. Congratulations, girl! That's so exciting. And something tells me your husband and little ones will look back on those cinnamon rolls and time with you and in Christ's Word with just as much fondness as you look back on your own Christmas. :)


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