christmas traditions with becky
Throughout this month of December, each of us on the team will be taking a turn in sharing something near & dear to our heart as we reflect on the magical season that is Christmas. You’ll learn of some of our favorite traditions and hopefully feel inspired as you continue to carry on your own traditions. Our hope is that you’ll feel an ever-increasing desire to cultivate that life that you want.
I’ll kick things off by sharing a few of our Christmas traditions. Today my family enjoys several traditions that are so special to us. Some are carried from my own childhood and some from David’s … and some are completely new to all of us! Traditions are wonderful! They help each of us to feel grounded in what is most important, more connected to those we love, and they serve as reminders that life is good. Most of us enjoy several traditions, especially during holidays. What I feel impressed to share is this:
Share your traditions!
Whether you are doing something that has carried on through a few generations or you’ve just started something new when your babies were babies… SHARE the origins! Share with your family what you know! Share why you do certain things during the holidays and what these traditions mean to you and your family.
My kids know that our numbered presents go back to their Grandma Allgaier (my mom) and that we didn’t start that tradition ourselves, but that we absolutely love it and I’m completely delighted to carry on the tradition. See those little square papers in my hands? Those are my mom’s original lists from who-knows-how-many-years-ago. It works like this: Christmas presents are labeled, but you won’t see anyone’s name on the wrapped boxes. Nope. You’ll see a number! A randomly assigned number … so that no one knows who is getting what! My mom keeps track of the numbers and her handwritten list, which she keeps very, very tight in her hand on Christmas morning. To kick things off, someone chooses a gift and announces the number.
Mom: Let’s see here… number 19 is… Steven!
Then Steven opens his gift, we all ooh and aah and then it’s Steven’s turn to pick the next present. And it goes on & on until all gifts are unwrapped.
Another tradition from my childhood that has made its way into some of our more recent Christmases (but not every year): Homemade gifts! In my hands, you’ll see a picture of little Becky all snuggled up in my Grandma Johnson’s lap. I’m wearing a Christmas nightgown that she made me. My mom made us all sweatshirts one year (we won’t talk about that – ha!). I made my husband an extra-long fleece blanket one year. My dad made each of us kids a wooden snowman crate and I still put that out each Christmas. One year for our family gift exchange, the entire theme was homemade, so we each had to make whatever we gave, no matter who was receiving it. Definitely our most creative and meaningful gift-giving year ever.
Another tradition that comes to mind is that every time a gift was unwrapped, that trash (wrapping paper, box, etc.) would get tossed behind the couch. My brother, David, was oftentimes the “keeper of the pile,” making a scene every time he slam-dunked the trash. Can you picture kids playing in a pile of fallen leaves in the front yard? That was us in the trash pile.
And then there’s service. Acts of kindness are so very important to us to implement during the Christmas season as we reflect on the example of our Savior. There were a few years in my childhood where our family went to the local nursing home to sing Christmas songs, pass out bananas, and visit with the folks. Just about every Christmas, David and I “adopt” a family in our community, learn about their wishes and needs, go shopping with our kids to hand-pick some items, and anonymously drop off Christmas presents at their front door. As my kids know it — doorbell ditch! It’s one of our favorite things to do as a family. Since before we even had babies, David and I have collected a Christmas book every year and for a while, we were really good about writing that year’s Christmas memories on the inside cover.
Okay, so I have to stop somewhere. As you can tell, just writing about a few of our traditions has a snowball effect because I remember more and more. Let it be our goal to share, share, share as much as we can with our families, so they feel even more connected to traditions than ever before.