Christmas Traditions: The Next Generation

Christmas celebrations took on a new look when I got married – it wasn’t just about my family anymore, it now involved my husband’s family. And if that wasn’t enough, we started a family of our own. Could there possibly be enough days in December to celebrate with absolutely everyone and still have a day for just the four of us?!? I wanted our children to experience Christmas the way both my husband and I did while growing up. And so, with that in mind I tried my best to recreate those days of past by carrying on traditions only to find that keeping things the way I remembered them would be a little trickier because Andy (my husband) had memories/traditions of his own that he wanted to pass down too.

As children, I think it is safe to say that all the Christmas festivities were something that we expected to happen year after year… perhaps even took for granted and not expecting it to ever change. But consider this… “The traditions we create now will be the memories our children cherish in the future.” This profound statement holds a lot of truth, insight, and wisdom. I have learned that it is okay to keep some traditions as they were and that it is totally okay to “mix and match” traditions to create new ones that will work for our own family.

Andy, Timothy, Jacob, and I enjoy the Christmas season by watching some of the same Christmas movies every year – the boys really enjoy Home Alone and so we do a marathon of Home Alone each year and still laugh together at the same crazy antics of Kevin McCallister. We also enjoy decorating the tree together… that was interesting when they could barely walk because all the ornaments ended up being placed on one small section of the tree. I like things to be “just so”, and it was hard not to go “fix” the tree once they were in bed, but I fondly remember how beautiful the tree was to them. I’m happy to say they have improved greatly as they have gotten older.

We always celebrate a day or two early because we know that we will be getting together with our immediate and extended family over three days. We start our day with a very greasy but oh-so-good breakfast of Grieven (Mennonite Cracklings). Grieven are pieces of pork that are leftover from the lard making process during the butchering season. These really do taste good on their own or with fresh homemade buns… and in my opinion they taste so much better than bacon! Yum… I can hardly wait. Once we are well-fed, we spend some quiet time reading aloud the Christmas Story from Family Bible and reflecting on the reason for the season. Then the excitement happens for the boys – opening gifts & building/decorating the annual gingerbread house right before lunch. And because of all the treats spread before us who has time to eat a meal?

After we have had a day or two to relax, we always look forward to heading out early to Mom and Dad’s where there usually is a fresh batch of homemade donuts to start the day! Now our boys have the pleasure of spending a day being loved and spoiled with even more Christmas Day festivities that give opportunity to creating memories that they will cherish in the future.