Monday, December 15, 2008

Family Traditions - Part 1 ... by Karen D.

Every year before the Christmas season can truly begin, there is one thing that MUST happen. My mom and I share a box of chocolate-covered cherries. We savor the ooey-gooey-ness of them and recognize this as the official start of the merriment. By the way, they must be the kind with the white cream surrounding the cherry, not just the liquid. If you enjoy chocolate-covered cherries the way I do, you will understand the importance of this seemingly small detail

This is a small family tradition we enjoy. It takes almost no time, energy, or money, but it is very important. That's the way traditions work. Sometimes they just happen over time and you never really realize when they sneak up on you and become a part of who you are. Other times traditions must be deliberate and intentional. Allow yourself and your family to be overtaken by those surprise traditions but also be willing to be deliberate about others.

In order to get the creative juices flowing, here are a few of our family traditions. May they be a jumping off place for you. Please inspire us with yours also. If it's too long to post in a comment or you have a picture to go with it, email it to


~The Vest Tradition~

I was a teenager helping my mom clean out her closet. I held up a black vest and assumed she was ready to trash it. She refused to throw is out; after all, "It will probably come back in style." In my authentic 1980's lingo, I replied, "Gross me out! This has NEVER been in style, Mom!"

I thought I had seen the last of that hideous black vest with the black-and-tan-checked lining. You can imagine my shock when I opened my first Christmas present of the morning and discovered the black vest neatly folded in the tissue paper. AARGH! We all had a hearty laugh and I quietly tucked the vest away.

Every year the black vest makes an appearance under the Christmas tree. We never know who might open it, but we DO know who has had it. Our tradition is to mark it before passing it to the next victim. Sometimes we add a button, sometimes a pin, simetimes an applique, but always the name and date of the last recipient. We now have a rich history on that black vest. That ugly vest is a beautiful tradition.

Christmas traditions week...

This week we begin sharing our Christmas traditions. Can you believe that Christmas Day is just a little over a week away? How exciting! We are busy making plans for the present-opening and big-meal-eating day when we celebrate Jesus' birth. But let me tell you something, girl to girl. My sweet husband gave me a HUGE word of encouragement. He looked at me yesterday on the way home from church and said, "You know what? This has been the best Christmas I can remember. I really like that we're celebrating a little bit everyday and not just making everything ride on December 25th." Yay!!! God is so good!!!

Doing this blog has been a challenge at times, especially in my personal time management. And then there's the issue of being sincere. I've always heard the expression, "If it don't work at home, don't export it," so my husband's words were like a great big hug from heaven. We struggle y'all. Just like everybody else. So even though the seven-year-old climbs across the back of the sofa and thumps the dog on the head during devotionals, it's good to know that God is still working in spite of our mess.

The other HUGE blessing is hearing from YOU! It seems from the comments posted that everyone loves to hear others share what Jesus has done (and is doing) in their homes and lives. I wanted to take a quick moment and share with you a few more pictures from our Friends who are celebrating Christmas along with us. Here are a few from Karen:

... Advent wreath...

... Jesse tree...

...countdown chain...
Karen has young children who participate in Advent celebrations by tearing off a link in the day each day until Christmas Day. It gives even the small ones a way to "see" how close we're getting to the birthday party.

... fur wreath...
No, you didn't miss a post. We didn't actually talk about it on this blog, but Karen found the directions on another blog and made this really cool wreath. If you find directions for cool decorations or homemade gifts, let us know. We'd love to post the link! Or if you have a tutorial you'd like to share, please send it in.

We have many wonderful traditions to share with you in the coming days, but there is still room if you want to send in YOUR family tradition. We'll be posting more frequently in the coming days in order to share all the neat ideas. Jump in and join us!

Check back early Monday afternoon for our kick-off post on traditions.