Tuesday, January 7, 2014

the vitality of tradition

if there's one thing I like most about Christmas, it's the annual traditions that come along with the season.  I've never been someone who gets unreasonably excited about the holidays, but if I do, it's probably because of our family traditions.  they feel like...home.

(I know everyone has stopped thinking about Christmas by now, but hey, I wanted to share mine.)

our first family tradition starts on Christmas Eve, when my dad makes a huge, usually themed meal of something we've never had before.  we bring out the china and fancy tablecloth and sparkling grape juice and eat like kings.  this year, Grant took over the meal, which was Greek, and I'd say he did a darn good job.  we had leftovers for days.

either before or after Christmas Eve dinner, we go to my church's candlelight service.  seriously one of my favorite parts of the entire year.  so so beautiful.  (please if you've never been to one, go next year.  heck, come visit me and I'll bring you.  I feel strongly about Christmas Eve services.)

then we come home and open stockings that night.  every year, each of us kids gets an ornament.  we have a growing collection on the tree with names and dates and memories attached to each one.  it's pretty special, and plus that way when I move out I'll actually be able to decorate my own tree someday, whew.

on Christmas morning, the little girls get up as early as possible while the older ones sleep as late as possible, so it usually comes to a bit of a compromise.  my mommy makes the most delicious coffee cake, we light candles, and then we sing happy birthday to Jesus.

Jesus also has a stocking, you see, since it is his birthday after all.  we each give a birthday gift to Jesus, writing it down on a little slip of paper--something we're committing to over the next year, a goal to focus on, a bad habit to give up.  we take out last year's gifts and put in this year's and read the Christmas story at the table.

and of course the girls aren't anxious at all to get gifts underway.  (also yes Grant has an adorable onesie he brought home from England.  it's precious.)

I'll be the first to admit that I put way more effort into gift-wrapping than gift-giving.  my excuse is that my love language is quality time, so the more time I spend wrapping your gift, the more I love you.  (but seriously someone hire me to wrap gifts please.)

besides our own family traditions, we almost always end up having a longer holiday celebration with our extended family.  we drove to my grandma's house the day after Christmas and had relaxing day playing cards and eating chocolate with my aunt and uncle and cousins.

ahh, Christmastime traditions.  they're really my favorite thing.
"As never before, he understood the vitality of tradition, the dignity of the worship of what had existed before one's own self had come into being. There was no shame in awe; there was exaltation."  -Nancy Holder
so yes, Christmas seems long past, but I hope your New Year's was just as lovely (and thank you ever so much for your responses to my post--it took a lot of courage to write and it meaning something to any of you means so much to me).

okey dokey kids.  stay warm and stay cool.



  1. I love your family tradition, cooking something different each year is one of the coolest ones I've heard so far. I'm glad you had a lovely Christmas and here's to a fantastic new year, dear Jenn! -clashes together glasses-

  2. Lovely post, Jennifer. Love the traditions that your family has. :)

  3. your guys' Christmas morning is like something from a magazine. :)

  4. Ya'll are fun. :) I love candlelight Christmas Eve services too.


  5. Wow my family does a lot of the same thing as yours like the "Happy Birthday to Jesus" and giving him a "gift" that we will be committed to for the upcoming year. I love the pictures too :)
    Brooke Jordan

  6. it's never too late to talk about Christmas - one of my favourite times of year. and traditions. <3 always good...sometimes when life get weird with the whole growing-up thing, it's nice to know some things will never change.

  7. It looks like you guys had tons of fun!! My family does some of the same things you guys do. Your pictures look amazing. Thanks for posting:)

  8. It's past Christmas and New Years already, but anyway...XP
    Okay, that's it. I'm putting a onesie on my wishlist or somethin'...Seriously...
    My way of "gift-wrapping" is by putting the gift in a pretty bag with tissue paper...Although I AM pretty decent at gift-wrapping when I DO actually wrap it. Haha.


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