Mother of the Bride Spot

Random thoughts on being a Mother of the Bride...although since we are now past The Wedding, perhaps this would be better titled Random Thoughts On Life In General...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Traditions

It is so much fun to hear about other folks' Christmas traditions -- how and why they became traditions. We each bring much from our family of origin, and then combine them to see what fits -- what new ones we'll add; what will work for awhile, and what will be put away -- perhaps as we add children -- or as they grow and leave the nest.

So I thought I'd try and list ours -- where they came from and why we do what we do.

1. Decorating for Christmas on Thanksgiving Day

This actually started -- oh -- maybe 12 years ago or so when Rosie began sending us Christmas dishes for our gift. Seemed smart to get them out at Thanksgiving and keep using them through the new year, thus getting at least 6 weeks use per year out of them. That started getting us decorating -- which includes the little Dickens village I have on the buffet in the dining room. We moved from a real tree to a real-looking one about 4 years ago, so we are now able to decorate the tree on T'giving Day and keep it up through New Years.

2. The yearly Christmas letter.

Bob and I got married in 1970, so this is our 38th Christmas together. I have a notebook in which I have a copy of every card I've sent out -- with a synopsis of each year that I would hand write until I finally got a bit smarter, and in 1981 started what would become the annual Bulletin. It has morphed from a typewritten letter on plain paper, to a dot-matrix printer on holiday paper, to laser jet printer with water marks, to clip art (1996) to pictures (2003). Jill and Torrey are keeping up the tradition -- smart girls -- they started a lot earlier in their marriages than I did!!

3. Luminaria on Christmas Eve -- see the Christmas Eve blog in 2006 for this one.

Every year we drive around our neighborhood to see who has "complied" with the unwritten rule about's fun to see that almost everyone on our street has.

4. Christmas Eve dinner at Beijing.

Tim was 16 months when we first went to Beijing for Christmas Eve dinner -- he's now 23. It's a highlight! Gone are the days when Bea and Johnny, the owners, would come over for a little chat. Seems as though it's become a VERY popular spot. The restaurant was packed out last night. What do we eat? Same thing every year: Won ton soup, potstickers (2 orders please), crispy shrimp, orange beef, mu shu pork, and sesame chicken.

5. Christmas Eve service at College Church

We've moved from the 4:00 children's service to the 11:00 candlelight service -- at least 12 or 13 years ago when Tim decided he was too old for the children's service.....

6. Pajamas from the Elves

I think this one started when Jill was about 4 and Torrey was 1. The elves choose new pajamas for each member of the family (or anyone staying with us over Christmas Eve) and leave them, wrapped, on the person's bed so they are there when we arrive home from church. The kids believed in the elves long after they stopped believing in Santa. My favorite memory about that is my mother, a couple of years after she and Amos married, came running down the stairs yelling, "We've been elfed! We've been elfed!!"

7. Tea....

After everyone gets their elf jammies on, we gather in the kitchen for a cup of Christmas tea. This year it was Candy Cane Lane. (Moroccan mint for Tim).

8. Birthday cake for Jesus

We don't do this one any more, but when the children were younger, this was the tradition after the jammies and before bed...."Happy Birthday to Jesus."

9. Stockings

Of course. And still.

10. Gifts put out before everyone else is up

This is probably tradition in many families -- but Bob and I still put out the bulk of the gifts under the tree and fill the stockings before everyone else is up. We used to do it after Beijing and before the Christmas Eve service -- fortunately our parlor/living room has pocket doors so we can close them and no one can see what is there. Now we just get up earlier than everyone else, put the coffee pot on, and put everything under the tree. That's the advantage of not having little case you needed an advantage.

11. Pictures - then stockings - then presents

And presents are one at a time....always. With Bob being "Santa."

12. Christmas no more

Instead (see blog for Christmas 2005 regarding Lazarus, the dead turkey that did not rise again) we have hors d'ouevres and snacks all day long. No cooking for the One Who Only Applies Heat to Food, and a totally relaxed rest-of-the-day reading, playing games, putting together a puzzle (this year), and napping....

Speaking of which.....

What are your traditions?


At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jan, I hope it's not too late to post Christmas traditions! When our kids were young, we lived in Minnesota surrounded by Scandinavians who opened their presents on Christmas Eve. We wanted to preserve our tradition of gift opening on Christmas morning so had to come up with something unusual to keep them occupied. For about 25 years, we have watched old family slides on Christmas Eve while we drink homemade eggnog and eat from a smorgasbord of treats. Sounds odd but we all love it! It's great when the kids bring home soon-to-be-spouses and everyone laughs about the clothing styles! Now we add in grandchildren pictures and they love it too. So fun!!
Sue R.


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