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What are your family's Christmas traditions? How do you celebrate?

What are your family's Christmas traditions? How do you celebrate?

I'm eager to hear what you traditionally do Christmas!

What's your favorite part of the whole season? :)

re: What are your family's Christmas traditions? How do you celebrate?

Now:
Midnight Mass

Sleeping in (family) while I make a HUGE Christmas breakfast. Then, up to eat.
Relax the day away as we open a few gifts, visit, snack, watch basketball and listen to Christmas music with joyful praise. Fairly low key, little noise, nice family time, more about our faith and time with immediate family.

VS.

Childhood:
Made the rounds to 3-4 family members' houses. Exchanged gifts. Came home and woke at the crack of dawn to dig in to the multitude of gifts. Ate HUGE Christmas breakfast my mom cooked. Generally family in town staying with us. Lots of noise, lots of gifts, lots of fun...but not very Christ centered.

What about you Thinker???

This post was edited on Nov 27, 2017 04:05 PM

re: What are your family's Christmas traditions? How do you celebrate?

My favorite part of the whole season is the church services.

I enjoy baking ginger snaps and snickerdoodles for friends and family, and sending cards to far away loved ones. I usually have Christmas music going during the day in December - Bach's Christmas Oratorio, The Messiah, Josh Groban's Christmas album, Celtic Christmas music. I am looking forward to shopping this year for my precious great-nephew, whom I simply adore. He is 2 1/2 and I want to get him a book and probably some kind of toy vehicle - he is obsessed with bulldozers and trains!

We always leave our tree up until January 7, and my parents usually come down on New Year's Eve and stay for 3-4 days, it's their annual visit.

re: What are your family's Christmas traditions? How do you celebrate?

We work.

We keep a Christmas tree up all year.

My husband will make a stations of the cross service around our home.

re: What are your family's Christmas traditions? How do you celebrate?

Ours...
Here there are Christmas Eve, First Christmas Day, and Second Christmas Day (26th). But the advent season begins here 4 Sundays before Christmas day, this year on December 3rd.
During the whole Advent and Christmas season (beginning of December until mid-January for us) our house is mainly a place to sleep and bake cookies, literally.
What used to be just caroling to a few neighbors and friends for a few days around Christmas has now grown to ca 100 singing engagements for the season. The people here are a very, very closed, backward people. They are very hard to reach. Christmas time is a time when people are open; even pagans go to church at Christmas here.
The cookies? We bake at least 6-7 different kinds, pack them into little baggies, tie them shut with ribbons, and give them to the people we sing to. I'll leave it up to anyone here to guess how many cookies we baked last season, if you care to. Hint: the number is in the thousands.
Our own family Christmas comes later, whenever we have caught our breath a little. One year it was as late as the beginning of February! We usually have it sometime in early January. We have a real tree with real candles as the only ornaments. Singing softly around the lighted tree, discussing the meaning of Christ's birth, reading Christmas cards and letters from family and friends, just having family time, and opening a few gifts are the main things we do. We love to sit there with only the candles for light, until the last candle has finally flickered out. It's beautiful. Of course we also pray together and then head to bed.

I'd be happy to hear what you all do for Christmas!
Thank you to the ones who have already shared!

re: What are your family's Christmas traditions? How do you celebrate?

Oh Thinker....your Christmas sounds like a wonderful dream!!! Especially the candles on the tree and the peace. Our Christmas' are usually very different...tons of presents to open, lots of decorations, get togethers and dirty Santa swaps. It's become something I really don't like. I would love to simplify things, but the family protests. One tradition we do have that I love is that we always get Chinese take out for our Christmas Day meal. Years ago, while I was very much struggling with health issues, I would pour all my energy into cooking a big meal only to be too exhausted to even play with my kids and their new toys. So I started the Chinese tradition out of necessity and desperation because it's the only thing open on Christmas around here. Now the kids love it and would have it no other way. But all the other things, I could honestly do without. We really don't know how Christmas will be for us this year. My father in law passed away back in March. My mother in law is now dying of colon cancer. She has reached the stage where life is nothing but suffering...can't raise up out of bed alone, severe nausea, miserable, can't toilet in her own and requires 24/7 care from us. We split the week with my sister in law and her family, but the weight of it is driving us all to a breaking point. We aren't watching her live anymore; we are watching her die a horrible death. We don't know if she will make it to Christmas, but if she does we will spend it caring for her. I hope this doesn't sound wrong, but it would be the hugest blessing if my mother in law could spend Christmas in heaven with her husband and Jesus and we could spend it recouperating. I guess no one could imagine how I could say that unless you have watched what I am watching. We just long for her suffering to end as we are Christians and believe that what lies ahead for her is so much better than the things she is enduring now. Things are so off this year because of it all. My husband finally found a free day to put up our 12 ft tree, but everyone was so exhausted that they spent the day arguing as it went up. I was sick and just watched wishing we could forgo the tree and just all relax and enjoy each other on our rare free day. It's half decorated because I'm still sick and everyone else has been on mother in law duty with no chance to finish it up. Can you tell I long for simpler days where Christmas is all about what it should be about rather than all the hype? Thank you for sharing your beautiful Christmas story and for bearing with me as I write and work through the pain of mine.

re: What are your family's Christmas traditions? How do you celebrate?

Dear rbairrow,
I'm sorry. May The Lord give you strength to endure, and may your MIL be rejoicing in heaven in His time! (((hugs)))
Thank you for sharing. Even though it's painful. Almost four years ago we also had a painful Christmas. Just before Christmas, a very dear friend of our family's passed away to be with The Lord. Oh, how painful it was! The funeral was after Christmas.
Even though we knew he was in a better place, it was so unexpected and we missed him so much. It was hard. Have you ever been especially sad, yet sharing joy and singing at the same time? That was a busy season as usual. We sang and "brought glad tidings", yet inwardly at times, we were crying. That year was the only time I can remember that we didn't celebrate as a family. It was too painful, and nobody (except maybe the youngest two) wanted to.

Yet, don't loose heart. The Lord willing, there will be other Christmases again, when you and your family can rejoice and be happy again!

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

re: What are your family's Christmas traditions? How do you celebrate?

Rbairrow, I am so sorry you are dealing with such a sad, painful year. I don't think it is awful at all that you wish peace and an end to your MIL's pain. My own mother died Christmas Day, 1998 after much suffering from cancer. It was heartbreaking to lose her, but almost a relief because we all knew it was going to happen anyway, and she suffered a lot the last few weeks.

Thinker, are you able to say where you are located in general? I agree, it would be so wonderful to have a Christmas such as you described. The caroling and giving bags of cookies to a difficult to reach population sounds lovely, and as if Christmas is the time to reach them. :)

As for my traditions, I don't cook at all in Christmas Day anymore. We have a Christmas Eve "dinner" that is basically just veggie and dip platters, cheese and cracker platters, BBQ ill wieners, and pigs in a blanket and cookies and snacks. We go to family for the big dinner in the 25th. My kids are all older now, so we do dinner and then open gifts late afternoon/early evening after we get home. This year will be myself, my boyfriend, 3 daughter's, 2 of their boyfriends, and 4 grandchildren. :)

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