Building Christmas Traditions
December 24th, 2012
Christmas when I was a child followed a very predictable pattern. We drove to my grandparents’ house in Iowa a day or two before Christmas and met up with the rest of my mother’s extended family. Christmas Eve involved singing and food and perhaps a quickly-rehearsed Christmas play. Christmas morning was a melee of gifts and more food.
I think I was at least in my teens before I spent a Christmas morning in my own house.
This could be why it’s taken me a few years to forge new Christmas traditions since I’ve been married. To a minister. Knowing that we will always be home on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning has taken some getting used to.
But as the kids are getting older, this year we decided to get serious about setting some traditions in place. I was very pleased with how our Christmas Eve came together.
I made Josh’s favorite baked pasta dish (also a big hit with the kids and has the added benefit of being make-ahead-able) for dinner and while it baked, we did an interactive reading of the Christmas story using the kids’ Fisher Price nativity set.
As Josh read from Miss Mouse’s Bible, he’d ask the kids to bring over relevant characters that we then set up and positioned as the story unfolded. The kids were really into it.
After dinner with my folks, we had cupcakes to celebrate Baby Jesus’s birthday. It took me a while to successfully lobby for this inclusion. Josh isn’t a huge fan of the whole “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus Thing.” He’s a purist and Christmas is so much more than a birthday party, darn it!
Tell that to a four-year-old.
I finally made the case that if what we wanted was children excited about the religious roots of Christmas, birthday celebrations were a good approach.
Incarnation of deity and salvation from sin? Huh?
Cupcakes? Got it!
Everyone also pitched in to help make cinnamon rolls for consumption tomorrow morning. I don’t want to brag, but my family’s home-made cinnamon rolls are the best things on earth. I’m happy to have them firmly cemented as a Christmas tradition.
Once the kids were in bed, it was time for Christmas Eve services at our church. They do theirs at 9pm which was too late for the kiddos this year, but I’ll confess I enjoyed being able to sit back and enjoy the service without having to wrangle squirmy sleepy children.
I’m hoping to add philanthropy to future years. We had hoped to take some of the pine cone Christmas trees we made over to a local nursing home…but it just didn’t happen. We’ll get there, though. Traditions take time to build. I think we’re off to a good start.