From where I sit in my living room, I have a beautiful view of my neighborhood.  With Christmas in two days, it’s been so much fun to watch the holiday deliveries, the visitors and the pretty decorations my neighbors are enjoying.  And apparently, I’ll be getting new neighbors after the holidays since the sign next door went down and there are new vehicles coming and going!

Above all the food, family and gifts this holiday traditionally brings, I always look forward to this time of year for the traditions. Growing up, there were things we always did.  Always.

  • We went as a family to get a live Christmas tree from a lot in town and then decorated as a family listening to Christmas music on my parents’ stereo. The Amy Grant record with Tennessee Christmas was played every year.
  • We baked cookies together starting right after Thanksgiving.  This was a mom and kids sort of thing though.
  • Mom made us new pjs every year she was healthy enough to.  We opened them on Christmas Eve and wore them to bed!
  • Christmas morning began with a birthday cake for Jesus’ birthday. Then presents. Then family.

This Fall I read several books by Richard and Linda Eyre, Teaching Your Children Values, being the one that inspired me the most.  As I read about their family stories, I realized that what we value the most about our memories are the traditions that came from them.

Matt and I want to create traditions and memories that our children grow up loving and anticipating.  But I also want to make sure that our traditions focus on giving. In the last few years I’ve bundled the kids up to take goodies to the neighbors. I think it’s a great tradition considering that they are so kind to our kids for Halloween. 🙂  We also make something for our postal carrier. That man works hard for my family! I don’t like going into stores, so I shop online and he makes many, many trips to our home in the weeks leading up to the holidays.

As a family we’ve tracked down the perfect tree and decorated it, we’ve baked one batch of cookies, gone on several drives to see the Christmas lights, we’ve watched Christmas movies and done our Jesse tree and had a birthday party for Jesus.  We dealt with more than our fair share of germs this December, but they helped us teach the kids how to be compassionate and sensitive to each other.

Yesterday, we had our family Christmas.  This year, our children were excited to give the gifts they chose for each other.  I think I can honestly say that of all the fun items they unwrapped, Liam appreciated the gift Sylvi picked out for him the most. They hugged and thanked each other sincerely.  And Sylvi told Liam she “wuved” her gift.  And my mama heart swelled with joy.  Our Christmas traditions were pared down this year because of illness, but the joy and purity of giving is still in our home.


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