December 9, 2011

Cherished Traditions in the Season of Hope

Finally we have our Nativity set up. It’s such a family tradition that it didn’t feel like Advent without the crèche.

This set was bought years ago when our boys were small. Early on Christmas morning when eager little boys couldn’t wait to open the piles of brightly wrapped packages under the tree, we would first gather around the manger scene and sing Happy Birthday to the baby Jesus. Oh, such sweet memories!

Our holiday decorations become part of the tradition of celebrating Christmas. Ornaments are collected over many years, and as each one is brought out for the season, the memory attached to that ornament plays through my mind. Some decorations are received as gifts, or are purchased while traveling or on a family outing. I have a Santa ornament with dangly button legs purchased at the State Fair that always makes me smile and remember a fun summer day when I unwrap it.

Tradition is an important part of holidays, passing on to the next generation, and the next. We cherish our memories and our keepsakes. As a very small girl, I remember being in charge of our Nativity set. My big sister was jealous because I was the youngest so I got to set it up. I remember the set had lots of barnyard animals to play with, including tiny little chickens. My mother set the crèche under the Christmas tree, and I would lay there for hours playing with the figures, rearranging them to my delight.

Since I grew up to be the ‘traditional’ sibling, raising a family of my own and celebrating the holiday with all the trappings, my family’s Christmas ornament collection was given to me to cherish. I love bringing out the old and familiar decorations and placing them on the tree.

Of course new ornaments are added every year, and like some of you I have more ornaments than I can fit on a tree. Although we do give it our best effort, as those little boys are now over six feet tall so we decorate a very large tree. Our Christmas trees average about 13’ high, though the boys would like an even taller one!

A tradition I cherish is our Baby Santa. My mother purchased him in 1956 when my brother was an infant. He is plush and has a music box inside that winds up to play a mellow version of “Jingle Bells”. I still have the plastic sleigh he sat in for so many years, but in honor of his longevity, my sister gifted a beautiful new sleigh to carry him through the holidays. 

Our holidays wouldn’t be the same without our traditions. Whether it’s cutting out and decorating the sugar cookies, or attending Christmas Eve services at our church, we cherish most the time we spend together. Having the family together at Christmastime is our most treasured tradition.


How about you? What holiday traditions do you carry from year to year? I’d love to hear about them! Please leave a comment below and let’s share our traditions!  

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