Traditions of this holiday season

December 24, 2007

by Jenni Sebora

On the first day of Christmas. . . hold hands with your spouse, your child, or another one you love. The greatest gift we can give our children is to have a good relationship with our spouses, and of course to love our children.

On the second day of Christmas . . . visit a nursing home with your children and sing some Christmas carols with them. The gift of ourselves is the best gift of all.

On the third day of Christmas . . . make a dinner, cookies, or a pie for your neighbor or someone in need.

On the fourth day of Christmas. . . go sledding with your children.

On the fifth day of Christmas . . . bring food to the food shelf with your children.

On the sixth day of Christmas . . . make and send holiday cards for service men and women with your children.

On the seventh day of Christmas . . . drop a toy off for Toys for Tots.

On the eighth day of Christmas . . . visit with an elderly neighbor or an elderly person in your community.

On the ninth day of Christmas. . . hand out candy canes to your co-workers and/or your family members.

On the 10th day of Christmas . . . read the story of the birth of Jesus, or another special holiday story, with your children.

On the 11th day of Christmas . . . share a childhood holiday memory with your children.

On the 12th day of Christmas . . . smile more often and tell your loved ones you love them.

Do these in any order or think of your own. This wonderful holiday season seems to bring out the feeling of joy and generosity in us and bestows upon us the opportunity to spread joy and cheer.

These simple efforts don’t have to cost a lot, if anything, and the joy they can bring to others is priceless.

Christmas traditions and symbols

Like many families, hanging stockings is one of my family’s traditions. The stockings that we hang were made by my sister-in-law, Diane, and were individualized for each member of our family.

Each time a new member of our family entered the family circle (when children were born), she lovingly added a new stocking to our collection for the new little one.

Those are the same stockings we still hang today. They are very special to each one of us.

Each year, we unveil our stockings and each one of us hangs our own stocking that was made in love.

How was the tradition of hanging stockings started? According to www.share-christmas.com one version of the story says the tradition began when St. Nicholas wanted to help a poor family in need. He threw coins down the chimney, and they landed in the stockings that were hanging by the fire to dry. (Saint Nicholas was a kind bishop who brought presents to children and people in need.)

According to the website www.share-christmas.com, Victorian children sometimes hung their Christmas stockings on their bedposts. Parents used this recipe for “stuffing the stockings”: “Something to eat, something to read, something to play with, and something they need.”

We decorate our trees, whether they be real or artificial. Adorning trees with ornaments, lights and stars is a beloved Christmas tradition.

Each year, when our family picks out our Christmas tree, each of our children are allowed to pick out one new ornament for the tree that is added to the collection. There is always a sense of anticipation as to what ornament they each will choose, and their choices change from year to year.

This year, our son, Caleb, chose a beautiful silver reindeer with “Merry Christmas” inscribed on it.

Our middle child, Callie, chose a sparkly glass star, which fits her personality.

Our youngest, Delaney, chose a character ornament, Dora the Explorer jumping out of a gift package. Very fitting as well.

Before each of our children finds the perfect spot on the tree for the new family ornament, we write each child’s name on the back with the year inscribed as well.

When my children are older and they each have their own homes and their own Christmas trees, I plan to pass their ornaments on to them with the possibility of each of them continuing the tradition with their own families.

According to www.apples4theteacher.com Christmas tree lights represent Christ as being the “Light of the World.” Lights also represent stars. Candles were first used as lights on the tree.

The star is associated with Christmas because the star of Bethlehem guided the 3 wisemen to baby Jesus.

During the holiday season, with your family clad in pajamas and hot cocoa in hand, climb into your vehicle and drive around enjoying the holiday lights.

May you share your own holiday traditions with your children this holiday season or even start a new one.

The traditions don’t have to be extensive. Simple is wonderful.

“From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.”

– Emily Mathews

Have a blessed Christmas.