Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Traditions

 Christmas traditions have become precious heirlooms that I pray my children will pass along one day to their own.  Unpacking the boxes last Friday became a walk down memory lane as they took out their hand prints from infancy.  Every year we outline their hand print, cut it out and hang it on a ribbon that accumulates hands over the years.  Sometimes we draw them on Christmas cards or card stock.  Sometimes they write what their favorite things are or hobbies on each finger.  For the first time, Sissy will not need to make one because she has stopped growing! 

Those sweet hand prints are kept in their own ornament boxes.  Every year we give each of the kiddos an ornament so one day they will have compiled enough to take with them to start their own trees. 

On Christmas Eve we attend church and then go for a light ride down to 34th St. in Hampden.  I am sure that NASA has this on their light pollution screen.  It is rather magical.  The entire street is lite up in a community of festiveness.  Some of the homes even allow you to peak inside.  It's a true Baltimore experience.  This neighborhood has been doing this since 1947.  There is a guest book to sign too.

Another tradition we do every year is caroling.  Sometimes 12 people show up, sometimes 42.  It has snowed during our caroling too!  We sing until we are cold, then we come back for cookies and cocoa and warm up by the fire.

                                                                                As our family devotional we love the Adornaments. There are 12 ornaments and each one represents a name for Christ; the shepherd, the bright morning star, Immanuel, the lion of Judah, and others.  Inside the box is a sweet devotional that we read together and then they hang the ornament on our tree.
At some point during the month we will read past Christmas letters to Jesus that we have put in His stocking.  One letter was from my daughter hoping that she would be baptized the coming year, as she did in fact get baptized!  There are picture drawings from when they were little and could not yet write.  We just pour our hearts out and place it as a prayer in the stocking.

Christmas morning we gather around the table for some scripture reading or even a play. Depending on the creativity, my kids have acted out the journey to the blessed birth of Christ.  We place baby Jesus in the manger and sing Happy Birthday and enjoy some apple cake, or rum cake, or whatever cake I made that year.  My parents and little brother join us for the morning of gift exchanges and breakfast.  We make it a point that it is NOT a frenzy of activity.  Whoever opens a present, we all watch and enjoy their excitement of the gift.  Some Christmas mornings have lasted well into lunchtime.

It's a wonderful time of the year!


Wendy said...

You have the best ideas! I love the handprint idea. Thank you B peeps for how you glorify God with your creativity!

Saralyn said...

I found you via Holy Experience and had to laugh when I saw the Baltimore lights display. I remember visiting that neighborhood when I went to Towson State. As a kid from Severna Park, my sense of propriety was appalled at the idea of walking up to someone's front yard and staring at their decorations! Aaahh...good memories, thanks!

Ashley said...

Wonderful and beautiful!

Thanks so much for sharing!