Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I truly love being able to give to others and share the joy of the season. As a little girl I loved decorating the tree every year and baking cookies with my mother. Now as an adult I realize the true meaning of Christmas. Due to Jesus giving the ultimate gift of his life, I can have salvation. This Christmas season packaged all pretty in red and green is the celebration of his birth. It is the start of giving to others, and I can teach that to my children through our family traditions.
Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Now it is my turn as the mother to instill values in my children. I aim to make wonderful memories while creating traditions they will treasure when they are parents. The highest compliment would be for them to pass them down to their children.
Every year my children and I bake. We bake cookies, cakes, truffles, candy, and fudge to pass out in pretty tins to our neighbors, our mailman, our Pastor, and the employees at my husband’s work. The kids look forward to making all these treats even though they only get to sample a few. Furthermore they love to hand them out when we go down to the neighbors’ houses. I hope that by doing this they truly can understand how much more fun it is to give.
When I began to bake with three children many years ago it was hard. It took twice as long, and was full of bickering and messes. That being said I persevered through and now they are all proficient at baking and can even do it on their own. Now baking takes less time because we can all work at the same time on different cookies or candy. Many years I did not want to do it, but since it made them so happy it was well worth it. I feel that traditions are good for that, they make you do things you might feel like putting off. They allow you to experience the joy of togetherness that you might miss out on otherwise.
We also make ornaments every year for family and friends. In the early years I could not afford gifts so I would make ornaments. As the kids got older they began to make some too. Just the other day I saw a wooden nutcracker on my mom’s tree that my daughter painted when she was three. He was mostly wood color still with a purple explosion over his face and hair. Was it skillfully done? Nope, but it brings a smile to my mother every year thinking back to when my daughter was three.
Now the kids are 15, 13, and 10. The ornaments they create are very pretty and made from the heart. They give them to their Sunday school teachers, their coaches, and family. They really put great thought into who will receive their art. My tree and home are filled with such treasures that they have created through the years. Most noteworthy is they are old enough to clean up their messes now.
Our biggest tradition is to have the family over here for Christmas Eve. I make three big lasagnas and my parents come, as well as my in-laws, my brother-in-law and his family, my husband’s Granny, and some friends. Years ago we had a bigger group but my grandma has since passed away. Although my grandma is in heaven my children have their memories of Christmas Eves gone by with her here. The children look forward to this gathering every year. They love the time with family, and the traditional Egg Nog they get each year. They help me cook for the occasion as well which is a huge help. We make a great team.
This year we just started a new tradition. We went up to Boone to cut down our own tree. We stayed in a large rustic cabin with another family. It was a wonderful experience of family bonding, because besides getting the tree we just hung out. My kids did not want to come back home, and begged to do it again next year. Picking and cutting our tree was such a neat experience. I hope to repeat this again next year if we are able to.
I hope my children realize the importance of family and giving through our many Christmas traditions. Each year we talk about Jesus and really focus on him, and how he is the reason for the season. I cannot stress how important it is for my children to realize Christmas is not about them. Therefore through our family traditions, I hope my kids can learn to be more like Christ.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
What are your traditions? It is never to late to start a new one.