According to the beautiful little blinky button on my sidebar (the one that looks a little out of place with the bright colors, a bit modern maybe...)today is the day to share about traditions. I have one word: FOOD. lol
Kidding aside, a favorite tradition- and in our family -and traditions come and go-it's hard to keep lasting traditions with shifts in our family all the time. Eleven siblings (mine) getting married and having children over the years amounts to varied experiences (as well as over 50 people).
When I was a child, one of the things I looked forward to the most was midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. We sang carols for an hour and it thrilled me to hold my very own candle with a drip tray until it was burned down to a stub. I loved looking at the trees decorated with lights, red glistening bulbs and hand made ornaments. Loved looking at the stained glass windows and smelling the incense.
Another memory...when mom would get a new decorating idea-it would ignite a fire in me...I loved stencilling windows (thrilled!), and hanging tinsel garland on our large bathroom mirror and over the curtain rods. We used to have the most gaudy trees with us all throwing tinsel on them by the handfuls. I think mom would pick it off when we went to school the next day...the photos don't look so gaudy. That was one tradition my dh wouldn't allow me to continue after we were wed.
One year mom bought a fake cardboard fireplace so we could hand stockings on it for Santa. We felt like we were rich that year! She also re-covered her furniture with red velour fabric. I don't know if that was for Christmas, but it made me feel like we were in the loop now! Keep in mind I was in 5th grade...red furniture and a fake fireplace. It doesn't get much better than that!
One tradition that I have carried from childhood through now is baking cookies. I have vivid memories of sugar cookies loaded with red and green sugar, overflowing the edges, getting baked onto the tray. There was always a bunch of us kneeling on chairs leaning on the table fighting over who got to use the red or green or do that tray of cookies. Remember the silver balls that looked like bb's for a bb gun? I loved using those on the tops of the tree cookies. Did they get banned for breaking teeth or something?
Another favorite...we had a creek in the pasture behind our house. (see skating photo above) There were some pretty high cliffs in a couple of spots. The cliffs would have some wonderful drifts so when we broke through them on our sleds, we would fly through the air, land hard, and slide down onto the frozen, snow-covered creek. We would be out sliding with our cousins for hours until our hands and feet were pink, numb from cold, and soggy. We came in with noses running onto our hand-crocheted scarves which were wet from our breath (and noses :d). I remember we would keep pulling up those scarves only to have them fall down, and then be colder from the wetness remaining on our face....ahh the memories.
The Lord has been good about getting us hills at our various homes so we can keep the sliding tradition going. We currently have a fun one in our back yard which we enjoy as a family. We sail far, far out when we get to the bottom on the right kind of snow. The kids still spend hours out there, they build jumps, and use various kinds of "sleds".
One tradition we have in our "little home/family of 4" is to purchase a new child's Christmas book every year and read it together. We also like to re-read our favorites from over the years. Charlie Brown's Christmas, Mr Whiskers Cranberry Christmas, The Christmas Miracle, with Max Lacado stories being our more recent add-ons. One of our fondest memories was when I read "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to the kids; we laughed so hard I had a hard time getting the words out!
Filling shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse is another family tradition. Or sometimes Angel Tree. The shopping, packing and sending gifts off with a note to an unknown child helps us go outside of our family to bless another. When we purchase toothpaste and other necessities to put in a child's gift package, we realize what we take for granted.
Movies...White Christmas, It's a wonderful life, various Little House on the Prairie Christmas shows, Christmas shoes, Frosty, Rudolph, etc.
Music...We love Christmas music. Dale discovered Trans Siberian Orchestra quite a few years ago. We sit down one night and listen (just the two of us) to a cd and cry together over the story. This will be the fourth year we are attending their concert. It is awesome music with awesome light shows. I never knew people could play instruments with such passion.
Sorry for the length of this post...I've been around for awhile-lol, there is alot there in my memory bank! The photo above is one of the many skating parties my mom hosted. Note the snow angels...