Let’s hear about your Christmas traditions, big, small, normal, original. Here’s some of what makes Christmas for me…

The Nutcracker – Admittedly it’s my only ballet attendance all year, but we really enjoy going to see the Nutcracker. I have seen it since I was a kid and now my kids are coming. They really love it. They look forward to it for weeks leading up to the show. We went to the matinee on Saturday. The boys (myself included) have a hard time staying awake in the first half, but the second half is great. We’re rested and ready to go. I love that Ballet Austin uses local celebrities to play the part of Mother Ginger. Last year it was a local weatherman, and this year it was the fire chief. Great time.

Behold The Lamb of God – Now I talk a lot of Andrew Peterson’s Christmas record around the holidays. Usually I just get to listen to it. I’ve always wanted to see it live, but I was always doing a Christmas tour myself. This year when we made the decision not to do the Christmas tour, one of the first things I did was to look up when BTLOG was coming to Texas. We caught up with them last night in Corsicana on the last night of their tour. It was as incredible as I’d always hoped. The first half of the show is in the round with each artist playing a couple of their own songs. This year it was Andrew Peterson, Andrew Osenga, Ben Shive, Jason Gray, Andy Gullahorn, and Jill Phillips. They were all amazing. Andy Osenga is a new friend who co-wrote on the new record with me. Andy Gullahorn might be the best songwriter around. Jill is an incredible talent both singing and writing. Jason is a little better known due to a huge song this year, More Like Falling In Love. He has been a great writer for a long time. I’m glad people are finally hearing more of him. Ben Shive has creativity and talent overflowing out of him. And you’ve heard me rave about Andrew Peterson before. So the first half was great. Then in the second half, they come out and play straight through the BTLOG record. Incredible. I really don’t have words for it. Amazing night. I wish I did tours like that. Awesome stuff. Go see the tour next year, but you can buy the album now to help you celebrate this Christmas. Astounding record… walks the story of Christmas through the whole Bible: Moses, David, the prophets, all the way to Mary and Joseph. Great record.

3 presents – We only do three presents per person in my family. You get a Want, a Need, and a Surprise. I thought when we introduced this that the kids would revolt. But they really bought into it. They have learned to weigh which presents mean more to them, rather than aiming for quantity. I think we could all use a lesson in that. And it’s led to some really awesome conversations about what’s important to them, but also about what other people’s lives are like.

So what is one of your Christmas traditions? Maybe it will be so awesome we’ll have to include it next year.