Most of us have Christmas traditions of some sort – some have the exact same things planned at exactly the same time every year, while others may just wing it through their holidays. Today I’m linking up with Hidden Treasures and sharing a few of my Christmas traditions. Though I may not have traditions that could make a Hallmark movie, they are very special to me and are spent with those I love dearest on earth. These are traditions my siblings and I did growing up in our parents home, and they are the traditions I pass to my own children.
Let me say one thing~
Christmas isn’t all about gifts! Do I enjoy buying gifts and spoiling my loved ones as much as my budget allows? Yes! But there is such a focus in our country on buying and buying and spending and spending, that it’s a relief for some that the holidays are finally over. Instead of having fond memories with family and friends, many have headaches from credit card statements. I do not want to fall into the trap of going into debt over Christmas – that completely takes away what our focus should be. My husband and I buy gifts for each other, our kids and our parents, plus a small gift for our nieces and nephews, but we don’t buy them for every single person that we’ve met in our lifetime. I don’t know about you, but I see many people spend a stressful month of December trying to exhaustively find that one.perfect.gift for their sister’s husband’s mother-in-law’s brother. They are stressed with the time it takes to buy so many gifts, the money they are spending that they really can’t afford to spend, and are too preoccupied to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas ~ and I’m stressed just watching them. I have for sure found myself being too preoccupied during the Christmas season and decided that I wouldn’t try to live up to expectations (many of them from myself), but try to focus on the real meaning and spirit of Christmas.
For gift buying, I take my girls through the toy aisles and make notes of the things that excite them the most. I want to be sure I get them something that they want and will play with. We normally only buy them 1 or 2 gifts each. This year I’m only getting them one individual gift, and a large one for them to share. I also get them small, inexpensive gifts for their stockings like little craft kits, jewelry, notebooks and pens, etc. I always check Amazon for books and movies and save a lot of money!
On Christmas Eve my siblings and our families gather at my parent’s house for dinner. Sometimes we play board or card games, and we always play a Right/Left Gift Game. You know…someone reads a story…you pass it to the right every time the person says the word “right”, and pass it to the left when they say “left”. We all buy inexpensive or gag gifts and see which one we end up with! 🙂 We have a lot of fun with these games and instead of spending too-much-money-that-we-don’t-have on everyone, we focus on the most important thing: spending time together. After our meal, we gather in the living room to read the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2. We then sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. I always want my girls to focus on the One we are celebrating – our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. After the story, the grandchildren open the gifts from grandma and grandpa and vise versa.
Christmas morning, I spend with just my husband and girls. We have breakfast and exchange gifts from each other. At noon we all meet at my grandma’s house with my mom’s side of the family for a big dinner. We normally bring small gifts and play the right/left game with them also. It’s always been so funny to watch my grandma try to play this. 😉 Everyone goes home after a while and sometimes my siblings meet at my mom’s house for more games and food.
The week of Christmas, my mom and I bake cookies for our neighbors to let them know we care and think about them.
I also make or buy small gifts for the girls’ Sunday School teachers. This year we’re excited to put together something from Cottage Mama’s Ebook!
At Christmas time, we always have the traditional ham, stuffing, potatoes, etc., but there is one recipe I always make at Christmas time that I never make any other time of the year, and that is homemade Chex Mix. The tradition started when I made batches to put in tins for small gifts, and my husband enjoyed eating the leftovers and insists I make it every Christmas. So, Chex Mix has become a family tradition. 🙂
|3||cups Corn Chex® cereal|
|3||cups Rice Chex® cereal|
|3||cups Wheat Chex® cereal|
|1||cup mixed nuts|
|1||cup bite-size pretzels|
|1||cup garlic-flavor bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces|
|6||tablespoons butter or margarine|
|2||tablespoons Worcestershire sauce|
|1 1/2||teaspoons seasoned salt|
|3/4||teaspoon garlic powder|
|1/2||teaspoon onion powder|
Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.
Be sure to join us this week at Hidden Treasures to read and share your own traditions.
What Christmas traditions do you have? I’d love to hear them! Whatever your traditions are, be sure to focus on the things that are important and everlasting.