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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Once a month I go to this meeting of Christian ladies called MOPS (moms as preschoolers). They have speakers and food and usually a craft. Last night was our one in November and You could put a booth up and sell things. so I prepared like crazy for two weeks and turned out a good assortment of things I can make. I did ok and that is all I was expecting, so I came away happy with that. Before I had to go sell we were supposed to discuss in our groups Christmas traditions.

I grew up in a divided home, not just divorced but DIVIDED) and so every other Christmas I trucked to my dads house. Now there is nothing wrong with that aspect, but because I had to spend most of my holiday vacation in the car traveling, Holiday traditions were kind of non-existent. I mean there were a few and all I could think about was at my moms we do the advent calendar, and dad has pizza and egg nog on Christmas eve.

As everyone started to tell all their favorite Christmas traditions, I ust sat there blankly so desperatly wanting to join in and tell a wonderful story, but instead I felt this rising panic and the tears starting to build up. Thank goodness the time ran out and I didn't really have to say anything, but I realized that one of my favorite holiday's is leaving me empty and sad.

Because of the way I grew up I have a distorted view of the world in my way of thinking, (A + B (has to) = C) and I had convinced myself that I was normal, just like everyone else with grand holidays with lots of traditions and happyness...this is all a lie.

So now that my Christmas is teetering on the ledge of reality, I would like to enlist the help of all of you! Please tell me your Christmas traditions.


Erin said...

Brittany- this post made me sad! We did the advent calendar thing and the pizza on Christmas Eve thing too.
-We read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve and opened a pair of pj's
-All the kids squeezed into two rooms to sleep which made it more fun to try to stay up to listen for Santa
-Christmas morning we all lined up in the hallway youngest to oldest then went in to open presents
-We took turns being the present passer-outer each year
-We drove to see both sets of Grandmparents that day for a nice lunch then dinner and saw most of our cousins
-Matt's extended family all get together and go caroling to the neighbors on Christmas Eve then have a program where they tell stories or sing or play an instument. It's fun but my family would never do it because we aren't very musical!
-It's fun to have our own families now and decide on our own Christmas traditions!

{Steve and Amanda} said...

I'm in the same boat. And with my dad we had to travel 9 hours and it just wasn't very enjoyable. But being from a divided family kind of helps because now that you are older and have your own family you can feel more determined to give your children an experience full of fun traditions. I really don't have any good ideas but I like Erin's :) Love ya!

Lynette said...

My parents were so busy, we hardly had traditions. BUT! With my family, it is different.

-Obviously leaving cookies and milk out for Santa (we have a special plate and mug for this)

-Open pajamas on Christmas Eve

-Listen to Christmas songs while opening presents

-Hailey isn't quite old enough for this to matter, and doesn't have any siblings but I don't think I'll ever do the "you open one present, ok now it's her turn." I hated that as a kid.

-Finding the green pickle on the tree (the mom hides a green pickle ornament on the tree and whoever finds it gets a prize-usually a candy bar for us)

-Getting a Christmas related book on Christmas Eve

-We have a star shaped box that is painted gold. On Christmas Eve we all write what our goal is for the next year. We got this tradition from Daniel's family. I feel like the goal setting thing is a New Year's thing, not a Christmas thing, so we might change it.

Wow, this was long. Really, just have fun making your OWN traditions!

Rebekah said...

I understand, after spending the holidays with Nathan's family I really saw how much I missed at having a COMPLETE family. My mom had some traditions she did with us though... listening to Christmas music while we decorated and set up the tree, making us sing Christmas carols and listening to some type of Christmas story before we opened presents.

With Nathan's family they get pajamas and/or a game to play as a family on Christmas Eve. I like this and plan to do it with our kids. Nathan and I have made a gingerbread house each Christmas.

I am looking forward to starting all kinds of traditions with our family, it is nice to know that my kids can have the things that I didn't.

Kori said...

Erin forgot to write cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, always. John's family has a big get together Christmas Eve, the kids act out the Christmas story with baby Jesus and then everyone that plays an instrument plays while everyone else sings Christmas carols in his parents basement.

One of my fondest traditions as a family was doing the 12 days of Christmas for a family in the town: leaving treats every night on their door step and keeping them from knowing who it was. Now you can start your own traditions. Holidays are fun as a mom because I can start to make these memories for our kids.

Michelle Church said...

How sad Britt! I'm sorry. That group sounds like fun though. I'm glad you get to do some fun things! I think you know all the traditions we did as a family, but I'm going to try to list them anyway.

Decorating the house together the day after Thanksgiving. Putting up the tree and putting up all the ornaments and other decor. i don't know if we always listened to Christmas music while doing it, but the last few years I was at home we did.

We made sugar cookies at some point during the holdiays and decorated them with frosting and sprinkles and such (candy cane cookie, santa, etc.)

Making gingerbread houses - again some time during the season. Made from graham crackers and candies and displaying them for everyone to enjoy.

Acting out the nativity. Each person was someone (mary, joseph, the angel, michael as a baby was jesus otherwise it was just a doll, dad would read from the scriptures or from a book that told the nativity). We kind of got out of doing it the last few years, but I know mom wants to do it this year.

Celebrating on Christmas eve - opening all the presents one at a time starting with the youngest and taking forever to do it.

Having appetizer type foods to eat that night like pizza rolls, mini bagel bites, shrimp, dad's famous crab dip, things like that. We always had a punch with raspberry sherbert and some sort of cranberry raspberry juice in it. I love that. Always makes me think of Christmas.

Santa always came Christmas Eve and somehow we distracted the little kids to go find santa outside because we "heard something' and then mom and dad would put out the gifts.

We always had stockings with small things like candy and always had a orange and apple too.

Christmas we would sleep in and eat leftovers and play with our toys.

I tried to get us to sing christmas carols christmas eve while we're all sitting and opening gifts, but I don't think it ever happened routinely, but I would like to do that.

For our little family we started some traditions of our own:

we like the idea of getting new PJs on Christmas eve to wear. We did that with Nathan last year.

We started doing a real tree last year because I found out there's a lot of lead in artifical ones. So we went and picked out a tree together and decorated it.

We buy a new ornment each year for the kids (babies first christmas and then last year we chose 2 that we liked and let Nathan pick - it was an airplane) then i write on the bottom which christmas it was for them. Then they get those ornametns when they grow up.

Oh and growing up we did the Aveent calendar and I have purchased one for our family. We also had a lot of natvities around the house which I enjoyed.

Oh and watching the short church film Luke 2 on Christmas Eve before opening gifts.

I'm sure there's more, but that's what I can think of right now. Now that was fun, I'm going to have to do that for al the holidays and make a log and figure out what I want to do!

Life as a Greenstreet said...

Well, I think we had lots of simple little traditions and being grown up has made me sad at Christmastime for different reasons. We live so far away from all our family I often feel our holidays are missing something and it makes me crazy! No grandparents, no cousins, etc. We've often travelled at Christmas in an attempt to see family leaving us void of our own stuff...and we've offically decided to have Christmas ourselves.

But, we've made some traditions we like:
We too have pizza on Christmas Eve. We got this from the same place!

We made an advent calendar in December with a fun Christmas activity every day:
making salt dough ornaments
visiting the botanical garden Christmas lights
visiting the temple lights
drinking hot cocoa in front of the tree with the lights of the tree on and talking about Christmas traditions
We always watch ELF on December 1st to help us set off the season!

We always try to do a couple of other things too:
We buy (not with our kids so they know what we're doing) Toys for Tots and deliver them to the box where Marines are standing guard

We always decorate sugar cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa

We read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve

And, our tradition is that in our family we give our kids 3 gifts. That's how many gifts baby Jesus got and we figure that helps keep the focus OFF the gifts and more about the fun of the season. Santa fills their stockings for them. We have really enjoyed this tradition and it has taken a lot of financial pressure off of us too.

I hope you have fun finding your own way in the world of Christmas. I'm sure that when Ben's a grown up he'll be able to talk for hours about the magic time he had every Christmas!