Hello everyone! Christmas really is a wonderful time of year; a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior with family and friends. All this celebrating is carried out differently by people across the globe. Everyone has their own traditions. (Does anyone else here the opening number of Fiddler on the Roof when they hear the word tradition? “TRADITION… TRADITION!”) So, I figured I would share my families’ traditions with you!
1. Dinner and Decorating
The day after Thanksgiving my family and I drive to an adorable little Italian restaurant called Sonny’s. Our mouths water the whole forty-five minutes there because that thin crusted pizza we order is simply AMAZING. Once we’ve all eaten our fill, we drive home to a nearby Christmas tree farm and pick out the biggest, bestest tree. (Yes, I know bestest isn’t a word. The grammar queen’s and kings are just going to have to bear with my Christmas enthusiasm.) My dad then pulls the tree into our house and we decorate while drinking my mom’s rich and scrumptious hot cocoa. I wait eagerly all year long for this cocoa. (Perhaps I’ll post the recipe soon…)
2. Chili and Christmas Eve
More food, because Christmas comes with LOTS of food. Almost every Christmas Eve my mom makes her homemade chili complete with beans, meat, tomatoes, a rich chunky soup base, and garlic bread to go on the side. It’s great.
3. Pianos and Christmas Trees
So, I must confess, this isn’t exactly a tradition, but it’s something I like to do every Christmas. After my siblings have gone to bed, and my parents are elsewhere, I turn off all the lights so that only the Christmas tree and garland lights are left on. Then I sit at the piano, in completely alone and in utter bliss, and play the piano to my heart’s content. Honestly, I love this so so so much. It’s magical sitting and playing, pouring my heart out to God and worshipping Him through music. Christmas is a wonderful time to put my focus back on Him.
4. Christmas Cookies
Okay, so three of the five are about food, but that’s alright. For as long as I can remember, my siblings and I have helped my mom bake at Christmas. We make molasses cookies, peppermint bark, toffee, fudge, sugar cookies, chocolate cookies filled with cream cheese, cornflake/marshmallow glaze Christmas wreaths with red hots. You name it, we’ve probably made it. (Comment below if you want any of those recipes!) When the baking is done we make plates for our neighbors and close friends. It’s always fun to see their happy faces when they receive a plate of Christmas goodies!
5. The Jesse Tree
This tradition began when I was probably seven to eight years old. You’re probably wondering ‘what the heck is a Jesse Tree?’ Well, let me explain. The Bible said Jesus would come from the line of David, Jesse was David’s father. So Jesus is from the line of Jesse too. The Jesse Tree is an advent calendar. Sort of. From December 1-25 it takes you through passages from the Genesis to the birth of Jesus. Each passage points to the coming Savior and the mercy of God. With each reading comes a little hand-drawn paper ornament. (Pictured below) My family puts these on a little tree that we call the Jesse Tree. So essentially the Jesse tree is Jesus’s family tree. It’s a great way to prepare our hearts for Christmas Day because this is what we are truly celebrating. God, YHWH, the most holy Lord, came down as a baby boy to die, to die, for us! He who was perfect took on all that kept us from Him so that we might be forever with Him in heaven. That’s the true meaning of Christmas my friends.