Christmas Traditions

Traditions are important to me. They became a little more important when we had our girl. I guess I never thought about our traditions being traditions until I had a family of my own. I didn't realize how important they were to me until they were the memories I had always known.

Advent wreath. Every year, we lit the candles on our Advent wreath. I had to look up what the heck it even meant - sorry Mom - but I knew that it was important. I wracked my brain trying to find a cute advent calendar to use for Maddie, but we're sticking to the basics. Partly, because we started in mid-December. The groove will come eventually.

Cinnabons. Santa brings Cinnabons for breakfast every Christmas morning. This will never change. And nothing further needs to be said. Cinnabons.

Visiting Santa. I loved seeing Santa as a kid! I wanted to make sure that man knew what I wanted for Christmas. Visiting Santa now? Way more fun. My poor girl is terrified & fascinated. Terrified has won out, but fascination will win in the coming years. Plus, these pictures are frickin' hilarious.

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2012. Last year's Santa looked more legit.

New ones started trickling in a couple of years ago. Family baking, Christmas jammies, & singing carols have joined the ranks. And I'll add new ones as the years move on, but some of the new traditions are the best yet.

The Night Before Christmas. Last year, we started our new tradition of reading The Night Before Christmas with our girl. She loves this book this year! She reads it almost everyday. She gets that Santa is coming to bring her presents & that his reindeer fly his sleigh. I'm already nervous about answering the chimney question seeing as how we don't have a fireplace.

The reading of the Christmas story. Great Grandpa reads the story of the birth of Jesus from the King James Bible. We've done this for years, but the best part is the new pop-up book we have for the kids to read along on Papa's lap. They don't know what "lo" and "decree" mean yet, but they know that baby Jesus was born in a barn with the animals surrounding Him. They get it.

And in light of the tragedy on Friday, I'm challenged to start new traditions. We're going caroling to retirement homes next year. We have a family of singers, & it's time for this girl to learn how much we can do by being kind & generous. I want to clean out the toy box at the beginning of December, have her help me pick specific toys to give to children who don't have toys or won't get anything for Christmas. I want her to know that she has more than enough & that she can bless people even as a toddler. I want it to make her appreciate what she has more, cause her to think about how less fortunate others are, & how blessed we are to bless others.

That's what it's all about. It's not about the presents & the millions of calories we will consume in 48 hours. It's about appreciating the people in our lives, the traditions we have, & knowing that all of this is made possible because a tiny, baby boy was born in a barn 2,000 years ago. This year, our new tradition is about loving each other, appreciating each other & helping others. That's the Great Commission - loving people with the love that Jesus loves us with.

Go bless someone less fortunate. It requires so little of us. Think of how much joy could be brought to someone, who has so much less than you, when you step outside of yourself & start a new tradition of loving people.

Merry Christmas to all,


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