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Monday, 10 December 2012 08:51

Christmas Traditions - Part 2: What to Carry Forward

Some of the Christmas and holiday traditions we remember from our childhood are:

Brian's family annually attended the Christmas concert put on by a nearby Bible School - the Bible School we attended, actually.  Interestingly, we went for a few years before and while we attended this school, but haven't much since. 

My family made a pretty big deal out of decorating the house - despite my Dad's grinchy grumblings.  We typically found a time when we could all decorate together, listened to Christmas music, and set up and decorated the tree and any other lights or decorations.  Neither Brian nor I grew up with 'real' Christmas trees, so they were often set up at least a few weeks ahead of time.

Christmas recitals and concerts are a pretty important part of Christmas for me - whether through piano, or our church.  We have always attended anything we could that involved our friends or family.  Especially if they were free!

When it comes to gifts...

This was probably the biggest deal in my family, and my parents went all out to spoil us at Christmas time. We always got up on Christmas morning and opened stockings first.  Our stockings were always filled to the brim and sometimes each stocking even had a bag hanging next to it for 'overflow'.  I grew up believing there were certain 'rules' involved in stuffing stockings - you can check out my stocking rules and idea list here.  Brian's family either didn't do stockings, or didn't make a big deal of them - they would include maybe a few pieces of candy, or a gift card but nothing else.  This is definitely one tradition I plan to take from my family!

It was common for me to unwrap a small gift on Christmas morning and find a note with a clue that led me on a treasure hunt to find a gift hidden in another part of the house.  This was always used for items that would be too big or too awkward to wrap and put under the tree. 

In addition to wrapping small notes in place of large objects, it became tradition to disguise gifts in other ways as well.  My Mom did this by putting a small film canister (remember those) filled with rice inside a gift to hide any other 'shaking noise', or to create a 'shaking noise' in a gift that didn't make a sound just to confuse us.  My brother and I took this to the extreme sometimes, finding elaborate ways to wrap gifts to make them completely unrecognizable for what they were.  I still think this is fun - I've always been a 'shaker' of gifts - but this year we will begin the 'tradition' of hiding the Christmas gifts until the night before Christmas.  With a toddler, we don't feel as though we have any other option.  I have an Aunt and Uncle who still keep their gifts hidden until all of their teenaged boys are asleep, and then they pile them all under the tree. I think this is cool too, so I don't know which one we'll end up doing later on.

My husband has one set of Grandparents who live on an acreage with a long driveway.  It is their tradition to take a walk to the end of the driveway after every holiday meal, before they open gifts. This is a neat way to get at least a little bit of exercise while socializing with family - all of our other gatherings are in the city, which makes going for a walk more difficult... maybe we can try to incorporate a walk such as this into our tradition - even after we are no longer meeting on the acreage.

There are some things that neither Brian nor I experienced growing up - any kind of alcohol, considering our Mennonite heritage. We would like to always have wine at our Christmas meals, however... and every other event we can possibly sneak it in to! :)

Also, the Mennonite spice is salt, and Mennonites around here stereotypically don't like change - as much as I love my Grandparents, and with all due respect, our holiday meals have been exactly the same since the dawn of time I was a child.  I wouldn't mind hosting some meals with a little bit more spice, and a little bit of experimentation.  My husband and I both love to cook, and we both love trying out new recipes!


Read 2803 times Last modified on Monday, 10 December 2012 13:44

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