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.
19 thoughts on “Christmas Traditions”
My family traditions is on christmas eve we would go to church as a family to honor and praise the birth of Jesus Christ. After church my mother made pancakes. Another tradition was that no matter how old my sister and I were, my mom said we still had to leave cookies and milk for Santa. Lol
One of my new traditions has become going to a community nursing home to sing and play Christmas songs for the residents. None of the residents are my family, yet they have become much much more. Traditional Carols, new arrangements and new songs of Christmas praise are welcome.
Many are expected: Silent Night, Oh Holy Night, Hark the Herald, Mary Did You Know, Joy to the World, and especially Bethlehem Dawn.
Bethlehem Dawn has become a favorite of mine to hear and share during this season. Thanks for such a wonderful song that God gave to you to share.
Last year was a tumultuous year after losing my mother, therefore sharing Christmas Joy at a nursing home was very therapeutic for me and was such a blessing to all. I’ll be doing it again on Christmas Eve (afternoon!). I can hardly wait.
Someday I hope to learn Bethlehem Dawn on Piano, such a beautiful recording, and WHO is singing it. What a voice of glory.
In His Grip,
Chinese food every Christmas Eve between services!
My son and I have two traditions–one is giving a cookbook or kitchen tool since we both love cooking, and the other is having an eggnog toast before opening gifts. Since we live 400 miles apart, we don’t always get to be together, so we get the eggnog ready, make the phone call and then toast over the phone.
You said, “I wish I did tours like that.” Oh my goodness, Todd! You DO tours like that. The DYSWIS tours are more amazing than I have words to describe. I’m glad you got a break this year, but I’m so looking forward to your DYSWIS tour next year. It really prepares my heart for worship and celebration of our Lord’s coming in a way that nothing else can do. Perhaps I’m a bit biased, but I believe there are many others who feel the same way. May you and your family experience the awe and wonder of Jesus’ lavish love for you.
We take each Friday night from Thanksgiving on and go to dinner then find Christmas lights to look at. Sometimes we have to look hard but the adventure is fun! Last Friday we got the kids in their PJ’s and went. It was great!
We all go to my father’s house. The youngest reader in the family reads the Christmas story to the whole family. Twenty or so people are sitting quietly around a crowded room listening to God’s Word. My 8 year old grandson became the first great-grandchild to read the story last year. It is so special because he reads it with great passion and inflection. What a blessing!
By the way, I agree with Brenda 100%. You do the most amazing, beautiful, inspirational Christmas show I’ve ever experienced. We have seen it each year since you started until now. Twice in Cincinnati, once in Tupelo and once in Hardin, KY. Attending DYSWIS quickly became our favorite Christmas tradition!
I second Brendas’ comment about you doing a tour like that…the DYSWIS tour is simply amazing.
Something i have done with with my sons since they were babies is I always purchased them special Christmas jammies and they were permitted to open them Christmas Eve after we returned from candlelight service at church. They always looked forward to their “Santa jammies”. Then we would have milk and cookies and set some out for Santa.
Second, our old church used to have a Christmas concert with a mini orchestra and the night was incredible. The voices of our members mixed with the choirs made for a joyful and blessed evening.
My Grandmother taught me to make Kolachi nut bread. This is something I do everyyear. It is an all day project, but I love doing it and when i do I remember how special she was to me.
Merry Christmas to you, Jenny and the kids!
Gotta agree with Jen and Brenda…the DYSWIS tour is always amazing – glad you get to take a break, but sorry you aren’t doing it this year. I have some good memories of enjoying it with good friends. Oh, yes, traditions…my family used to always read the Christmas story before opening presents. Don’t know when or why we stopped…should start doing that again.
Growing up we used to have a pretty set schedule on Christmas Eve. We would eat dinner, go to church, look at Christmas lights, and come home to find presents everywhere. We usually would open the presents, eat a dessert, and then everyone would gather sing Christmas Carols while my sister played paino. A few years we tried playing instruments-one brother on a trumpet, the other on drums, me on the flute, while one sister played paino and the other sang or played the violin. But then one of my sister’s learned about music, and couldn’t stand the sound, so we stopped. (She is now an orchestra teacher.) Then on Christmas day we would go to my aunt’s home about 2 1/2 hours away, and meet with tons of relatives.
It has been three years since I have been to my parent’s during Christmas, and it has been so wonderful that all three years I’ve been able to catch a DYSWIS concert! This year my siblings are I are planning to meet at my parents, and it will be a first in many years that we will all be in together! (Providing my sister, who’s baby will only be a little over one week old, will be able to make it.) We are planning to bring just a White Elephant gift for the adults, and focusing on the children, it just might turn into a tradition! We’ll see!
I hope and pray that you, and anyone reading this, finds renewed joy as you remember how God’s plan of Salvation came to frutation with the indescribable gift of Jesus on that first Christmas night! A celebration where angels invited people to rejoice, even when they didn’t understand what was going on! Christmas is definately a time to invite people to join in the festivities of praising and glorifing our God! Merry Christmas!
My daughter and I make a birthday cake for Jesus every year.. I started the year I had her and she is 6 years old this christmas… It such a fun time…
The Nutcracker is definitely a nice tradition…my sister Alison has played violin for the one in Nashville for the last few years…good times and great music, also our only ballet of the year. Our family calls it ‘The Buttcracker’ 🙂
Yes, Andrew Peterson rocks, another elite writer like yourself.
Hope you are enjoying a Christmas season at home. Look forward to hanging with you again at some point.
I know a lot of people like to stay home at Christmas but we usually travel every year to be with family. We have some great food traditions. My dad always makes oyster stew with fresh oysters, cream, milk, and butter. I’m not sure how or when the tradition started but he has been making it for years and my kids love it. He also makes amazing hickory nut cookies with nuts from trees in the woods. It’s a lot of work to pick out the nuts but it sure is worth it!
For the last five years we have had the tradition of seeing NewSong’sChristmas show. We have especially enjoyed the years when the DYSWIS tour was combined with it. Those were the best of all and we have gotten to attend some of them with some great friends!
There are the family traditions, of course, but one of my personal favorites comes right after the midnight service. It is one of the few formal services we have, heavy on candles, early music (with a Goo Goo Dolls or one of yours in the solo spot), and liturgy. Silent Night closes, so people leave the dark room quietly. In the twinkling darkness, the two or three main worship leaders join me in the silence with a glass of wine or tea, not really talking, just resting in His peaceful presence. For me, it is the sweetest moment of the season.
My family is really big on holiday traditions, I think they bring a sense of security. Our traditions include food traditions: fudge, divinity, and poppy seed bread for pre-Christmas snacking. We usually have oyster stew for Christmas Eve; Rick eats this and the rest of us find something else. Cherry blintzes are on the menu for breakfast on Christmas morning, glazed ham with holiday trimmings for dinner. So much for the food traditions. We usually have the youngest reader read the Christmas story, just like Vicki’s family. This year my Favorite Angel will be asked to read; she’s eight now. I love your idea of three gifts, and the girls would probably all be fine with it, but the beloved husband would never abide by it. He’s not very good at rules.
May your famliy be especislly blessed this Christmas season and through the New Year. Tess
We all get together on Christmas Eve. I started this tradition with my Grandkids. I make a Happy Birthday Jesus cake and the Christmas story is read and then we light the candles and then sing happy birthday to Jesus. All the kids blow out the candles. They love it and look forward to it every year.
Angel did a great job reading the Christmas story! She was also very happy to be asked. Then we all sang “Silent Night”, which is a stretch for this rather non-musical family.
I hope your Christmas was especially blessed Todd!!
I wanted to comment sooner, but this has been a very hectic holiday season for me and I didn’t really enjoy it very much this year. I like to spend the holidays by doing activities to build memories with my kids because I don’t believe that they will remember the presents anyway when they are older. I like to do things like make Christmas cookies with them and drink extra special hot chocolate with marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles! Have to get them on a sugar high of course, lol! Now that they are older, I would like to start taking them ice skating and just have a fun time with each other. I’ve always wanted to take them to see the Nutcracker also, but we haven’t had the chance. That is one thing that I would like to incorporate into our tradition next year. It sounds like you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and I hope that you all have a very happy new year also!
The past three years we have participated in Advent Conspiracy. The first year we just bought a portion of a water well for my in-laws. Then we decided, as an extended family, that we would give to others. The next year my family bought mosquito bed-nets. I made tree ornaments that had white netting in them to represent bed nets and gave one ornament to each family unit. This past year we bought goats and I gave each family unit three bars of goatmilk soap that I bought online from a family that makes goat milk products. My extended family usually gives through World Vision and personalizes each gift; my son gets soccer balls, my husband gets fishing stuff donated, etc. It is a wonderful way to give to others and the best thing is that you don’t have to worry about size or color or returning something you don’t want or need. I still give gifts to my children, but quality not quantity is what I look for.