Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Traditions

I'm linking up today with Kelly's Korner about Christmas traditions.

Growing up, we lived in Ohio far away from both sets of grandparents - Mom's parents were in NY state and Dad's in TX.  So it was generally just the 5 of us for Christmas.  We went to church on Christmas Eve and then afterwards were allowed to open one gift, and it was usually the gift from my Dad's mother and stepfather (not sure why, it just was).

Christmas morning, before any presents were opened, my Dad would read the Christmas story from the Bible, in Luke.

Then one by one, we would open gifts one at a time, so we could see what everyone got - so Dad would open one, then Mom would open one, then I would, then brother #1 would, then brother #2 would, then back to Dad again, etc. until we were finished with all the presents.  I prefer this method over everyone tearing into everything and no one knowing what each other got and seeing the expression on each other's face when Mom opened your present, etc.

Then, we kids would lay out our presents on the sofa on display so Dad could take pictures of what we got to send to grandparents and for the record in our photo albums.  We were blessed that we always had great Christmases - nothing lavish - my Mom didn't work outside the home until my youngest brother went to school, and when she did 100% of it went to college savings - but we got (what I now understand to be) generous presents each year.

Throughout Christmas Day, we would play Handel's Messiah on the record player (yes, I'm that old!)  That's some of my favorite music ever.  We talked to our grandparents on the phone - which, because it was expensive to talk long distance - was a special thing.  We had Christmas dinner - usually ham, Mom's broccoli/green bean casserole, crescent rolls, some kind of jello salad, then pecan and some other kind of pie.  There were probably mashed potatoes but since I don't care for those I don't remember!

From the time I was 12 years old throughout my junior year of high school, Christmas morning also involved delivering the ginormous newspapers first.  My parents were so "generous" to give me a paper route for my 12th birthday.  To their credit, they did a LOT of the work and that money went to pay for college.  The papers were so huge Christmas morning because they had all the day-after-Christmas sale ads in them.

Unfortunately with us now geographically spread out in 3 states and by thousands of miles, my two brothers and their families, Mom and Dad and I haven't been together for Christmas since the last one at the homestead in Lima, OH in 2005.  Maybe some day it will work out.  Mom & Dad have stockings for everyone just in case - including an extra for my spouse-to-be in case the Lord brings one, just so it will match with all the others! :)

So for the past 6 Christmases and this one too, it will be Mom and Dad and I in Houston at their house.  Thanks to the wonderful technology of FaceTime, hopefully we will see my brothers and their families and be able to talk to them sometime that day.  Later in the afternoon, my Dad's side of the family - his sister and her children and their children - will get together for dinner and we will enjoy being part of that.  Since 2001 when I moved down here to TX I have enjoyed being part of a large extended family Christmas dinner.

But if you had to ask me my favorite traditions, I would say listening to Dad read from Luke and listening to Handel's Messiah play in the background.  Because if we lose sight of what Christmas is all about, all the traditions in the world are just worthless.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Love it, Sarah! Don't know if I told you, but I get to play for the Christmas program! The kids are singing, too. Being in a church where I can play again regularly is an answer to prayer!

  2. Face Time is a wonderful piece of technology isn't it?? I'm only a few hours away from Lima if you ever get up this way again.....