There are so many traditions when it comes to Christmas, the holiday and tradition are practically synonymous. Not that I’m complaining. As life changes and I grow older, it’s a comfort to know that some traditions don’t change. Here are a few Christmas Traditions that have stayed with me and my family through the years or have brought meaning to my life in this special season.
Now, you might not immediately think of Christmas music as a tradition, but it really is. Every year on December first, songs such as ‘Carol of the Bells’, ‘Winter Wonderland’, and ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful’ begin playing from most stations and music players. Not to mention all of the traditional Christmas Hymns that are sang in churches worldwide. Some of my favorite artists became that way thanks to their rendition of Christmas music and there are a few artists who I firmly label as Christmas Artists, not because they have no other music but because I solely know or prefer their Christmas albums. It is only thanks to their Christmas album that I even know who The Carpenters are. Every year my mom would get their CD out and it became one of my favorites. After I got married and moved out, I stole it from her just so I could play it in my house (sorry, mom). To this day I love belting out “Sleigh Ride” along with Karen Carpenter.
Speaking of music, there were a few years when we and a group from our church went caroling. We’d spend a few nights as a church practicing the traditional carols, then we dressed up in traditional caroling outfits and headed to the local hospital where we would wander the halls and sing for the residents. I never saw the patients, of course, but every year we would receive a word of thanks and told how much the residents had appreciated our efforts. There were even a few times we stood in the lighted church we had in the park and caroled there. That was freezing but I still loved singing for all those who stopped to listen as they wandered among the Christmas lights.
I love, love, love driving around and seeing all the houses lit up with Christmas lights. I also love going through the parks full of Christmas light displays. There’s one in the town I grew up in, made even more special because it’s a park that was once owned by my family years ago (like great-great-great-grandparents ago). It was in that park, on my favorite lighted bridge, that my husband proposed to me. Some years later, by complete coincidence, a close friend of mine (who I met after moving away) was also proposed to in that same park. I’d say that’s a magical park. In this time of separation and changes, the one tradition that can stay is driving around to see all the Christmas lights on people’s houses and in the parks.
*Opening One Present on Christmas Eve
I know this is a pretty common tradition, but it’s still one that I treasure and insist on now that I have my own kids. It’s a tradition that happened no matter where I was, whether I was spending Christmas with my dad and his side of the family or with my mom and her side of the family. I was allowed to open one present on Christmas eve and then the rest were for Christmas morning. I can’t tell you what exactly I love about it, just that it’s one from my childhood and therefore makes me a little nostalgic.
*The One Present I Get Every Year
There is one present I receive from my husband every year without fail. Ever since our first year of marriage, my husband has bought me the Holiday Barbie. You might laugh and contemplate my sanity, but let me tell you part of why it’s so special to me. It’s actually very simple, when my Grammie was alive she would buy me collectable barbies. She bought me so many that my mom often began joking that she would have to buy a new curio cabinet just to have a space for her bells and collectables. So it’s like that tradition was passed on to my husband. My Grammie ended up passing away shortly after I got married, so receiving another Barbie is like having a piece of her with me still. I try to make it a point not to see what that year’s Holiday Barbie looks like so that I can still be surprised when I open her. I might catch a glimpse of color, but I avert my eyes as quickly as I can. In recent years I have returned the action and it’s become a tradition of mine to give my husband a new Star Wars Lego set for Christmas.
What are your favorite Holiday traditions? Do you have one from your childhood or a newer one that came when you gained a new family? I’d love to hear about them! Merry Blogmas!