When I was younger we would drive to the Northwest corner of Iowa, to the town where my mom grew up to celebrate Christmas with one side, my mom's side, of the family. My grandparents, their 6 kids, their spouses, and I believe a total of 14 grandchildren (and now 2 great grandchildren). We would always go to Christmas Eve service together, and the most special part for myself and most of my cousins, (they've told me this, I promise) was the last hymn Silent Night which we would sing--as we sat crammed in the front rows of that small church--holding our candles. It made a beautiful picture and of course, memory. We had other traditions of course--soup after church (chili, chicken noodle and oyster stew), the bedrooms where everyone slept, even watching Christmas Vacation (according to my brother the best Christmas movie ever) and It's a Wonderful Life. But nothing quite as poignant as Silent Night.
Our Omaha Christmas traditions have evolved over the years but certain things have stayed the same. Mom or Dad will always read a Christmas book of David's and my choosing prior to presents--David usually chooses Jolly Old Santa and I'm partial to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but since it is a chapter book, I usually stick with something a little more user friendly. Another traditions, which is extremely competitive, is finding the Baby Jesus from our nativity scene. One of my parents hides the figurine, and then the person who finds him gets to open the first present. I'm not doing a good job at describing it--probably because I usually don't win, Kathryn is really good at it--but it is really fun--and it does make us focus on the reason for Christmas prior to the gifts.
Reflecting on these memories prior to Christmas Eve (tomorrow), warms my heart and puts a smile on my face. These special memories are things I'll share with my own children one day, as well as making traditions of my own (which could very well be me winning the find Baby Jesus contest every year)--but for now I thought I'd tell you about them.
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions!?!
Lots of Love and remember the Reason for this Season