Friday, December 25, 2009

More Cherished Christmas Traditions

Christmas Movies

     We enjoy watching the VHS tape of Christmas videos my mom recorded twenty some years agowhen we lived in Naperville, Illinois. It’s fun seeing the old 7Up commercials, weather reports, etc. every year from when I was in first and second grade. Each year there are certain movies our family likes to watch. “White Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” and “Home Alone” are definitely must-sees each year.

Christmas Eve
     Generally we gather in the room with the Christmas tree, listen to carols, each get to open one gift. We enjoy an assortment of hors-d’oeuvres throughout the evening which include: my mom’s homemade chicken fingers, shrimp cocktail, cocktail sausages, a vegetable tray, chips, and of course our Christmas cookies. At some point we turn all the lights out to enjoy the glow from the candles in the room and the lights on the tree as we sip hot cocoa, tea, or coffee.
Christmas Day
     When we were little (okay, actually up until last Christmas), Mom and Dad went in the family room first, turned on the tree lights, lit a fire in the fireplace if we had one, then my sisters and I always entered the room where the tree and presents were in order from youngest to oldest. None of the presents from Santa are ever wrapped. They are stuffed in stockings and strategically placed out at the edge of the other wrapped gifts under the tree, sectioned off by who gets what.
     For some reason we’ve had a tradition of opening our stockings first while eyeing our section of unwrapped gifts under the tree. In more recent years, Theresa has been the one who sits on the floor next to the Christmas tree and distributes gifts for the rest of us to open. We often end up leaving our gifts scattered about in the room. Coffee, hot tea, and Christmas cookies are often part of breakfast.
     Often times we get dressed up and go to Mass on Christmas morning. I love this tradition, because it helps offset some of the commercialism that can be a big part of the morning’s festivities. What better way to remember Jesus is the reason for the season, than to recall His birth, life, and sacrifice for us by singing, praying, and taking part in the Eucharist.
     In the late afternoon or evening, we have our traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, squash, crescent rolls, veggies, etc. We spend more time sitting around the tree with candles lit around the room to create a warm ambiance.
     Lord, thank You for blessing us with the gift of Your Son. Help us to live in such a way that we help all around us prepare more room in their hearts for Jesus. Amen.
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