Traditions Old and New

November 15, 2010

in the generous life

My husband, son and I just went to see/hear the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (aff link).  The performance was phenomenal (a bit much hair tossing, but really phenomenal).  It was a Christmas present to each other (yes, a bit early, but they were in town performing).  We’re all adults and we general buy what we need and want, so we’re doing more event gifting.  We do fun things together and call that a gift.

I’m sure the Christmas music will be playing soon around our house (we usually wait until the Thanksgiving, but having just heard the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, I’m not sure we’ll be able to wait).

Holiday traditions are so fun and often meaningful.  I encourage y’all to consider your traditions well (keep the good and toss the bad) and perhaps dream up a couple of new traditions as well.  (Please feel free to share your traditions as a comment to this tip.)

Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.  W. Somerset Maugham

Be generous!  Lori <><

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Yvette November 15, 2010 at 5:33 am

My husband and I are also huge fans of TSO and will be seeing them in concert on December 10th in Duluth, GA! We have seen them every year for 4-5 years now. I think next year – if they play here again (last year we had to go out of state) we will bring our 2 oldest children as they are getting old enough to appreciate a show like this. I love holiday traditions and we try and incorporate some from both our families. I think it’s important – and something that will keep a family closer. I still remember the fun times I had with my family growing up during the holidays.

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Lisa Buchanan November 15, 2010 at 5:46 am

As a family tradition (my husband, kids and I) always take a 4 hour day trip to the mountains to get our fresh cut Christmas tree. The place we go to has a hayride, hot chocolate/coffe and a fire for roasting marshmallows. We listen to Christmas music all the way there and go through the small towns who all have their Christmas decorations out. It something that we all look forward to and can’t wait for each year….it helps us to start our holiday out spending time together.

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Glenna Sadler November 15, 2010 at 9:10 am

We are having to make changes in our holiday activities because the same people are not around that used to be. This has been especially difficult for my husband. We always spent Christmas Eve with his parents, siblings, and our children. Now, his parents are gone. His siblings have moved away. Our children are grown, married, and/or moved away. We have begun looking for something that is meaningful for us for Christmas Eve. Just taking the time to recognize that this is more difficult for him than it is for me has really helped him. I reserve that time just for him, no last minute baking, shopping, or wrapping. We decide together what we will do. I can see on his face and in his demeanor how much my attention to his need is helping him cope with the changes. This blesses both of us and allows a little “breather” before the big day with my huge family.

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lana November 15, 2010 at 11:15 am

this is our first year to do no gifts to each other… I had already bought gifts for our baby boy (all things i wanted him to have, like a toy barn and a plastic drum)earlier this year as i found them used and cheap…
But no gifts this year betweeen us, we’d thought we’d spend the money on something to do, but…. there’s no money to spend, with a baby coming and a car to be bought.
We can’t even afford a Christmas tree, and getting one is the highlight of my year!

Anyone got suggestions for what i could do to make the holiday special and memorable for free?

I have ideas: on ‘christmas tree day’ (the day we’d usually get our tree from a tree farm…) we’ll still ut lights outside and we’ll listen to music and make sugar cookies.
but i don’t know what to do to make the rest of the season special…

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Vicky November 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Have courage, Lana! This is our first Christmas with no presents either!
We have 4 kids from 7 – 1, and have decided this year to have a ‘present-free’ Christmas. It’s all part of an idea I had to try and rediscover the ‘real’ Christmas. No Santa, no stockings, no tree, no presents.
Just us, and the most fun little nativity scene I can muster up from among the kids toys :)
Our house is crammed with ‘stuff’ – too much. We really don’t need the presents, and Jesus never had the tree, or the other things.
But in Italy, my husband’s mom sets up an amazing nativity, about 1.5 meters long, with houses, people, little trees, and Christmas lights for stars. The kids haven’t seen it in 2 years, but they still remember it.
I can’t afford to buy anything for it, but we’ll make it with paper and paint, and little people (playmobil, lego, etc), maybe some moss from the garden…..
…and that will take the place of the Christmas tree :)
We’ll read a little of the story each day, and move the little people to act out the story. And on Christmas day, we’ll fill present opening time by pulling out all those board games the kids love to play, and going for a walk, and eating lovely food, and making a video call to Italy :)
And I’ll try my best to learn as much as I can about the real first Christmas – the sights and sounds and culture that Jesus was born into, so that I can tell the whole story on Christmas day to the children – just as it really might have happened, hour by hour…..

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Mary M November 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Iana, try calling your electric company and see if you can cut down a pine tree under their very tall lines. They have to do this anyway on a routine basis, and this is what my family did when I was a kid when times were hard.

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Joanna November 15, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Vista Print

Lots of Christmas items for free – just pay shipping! :-) <

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Amy November 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Some years we have read one of Arnold Ytreeide’s 3 advent stories. The first one is called Jotham’s Journey and each story really holds the children’s interest. There is some reflection after each chapter (you read it daily) on Advent. You could make a Joshua tree or search for other advent related studies. I had a bunch saved in my old computer, but it crashed. :( I am getting more of a Christmas spirit this year, so I really have to sit and think what we want to do and learn.

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Amy November 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Oops! It’s called a Jesse Tree!

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Becky C. November 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm

One of our favorite new traditions is that I wrap 24 Christmas books and put them in a basket. Each night of December one of the kids opens a book and I read it to all of them. Even our almost 16 year old looks forward to this. Over the years we have collected enough books, but you can also go check them out at the library.

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lana November 16, 2010 at 8:46 pm

What wonderful ideas, thank-you! I love the nativity idea… maybe it would be a good idea to give lil boy his ‘barn’ early so we can make it a nativity (we don’t have a ton of figure toys since this is our first child and he’s just getting old enough to play with them) – i was thinking of giving it to him before Christmas anyways so that it wouldn’t be THE big part of the day :)
I’ll have to check about the power lines – i never thought of that. I’ll look into a jesse tree too. The Christmas book idea is wonderful – i love reading aloud (or being read to), so that seems like a very sweet advent tradition!

These comments are literally an answer to prayer, i’ve gotta say the idea of ‘no tree’ has had me struggling with happiness(pregnancy hormones probably don’t help either, lol). One thing i have been doing to prepare for thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas season (one and the same in my mind :D ) is to blog about things i am thankful for every day. This will be at the top of the list on tomorrow’s blog!

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Pam November 17, 2010 at 9:51 am

Lana,

We do the book a day too. I have actually had several friends who were kind enough to give us some of the books their children out grew. It could be their way of sharing in your Christmas blessing. Also, this would take a little work & some paper, but it’s really cute. Trace each member of the families hands on green paper (or you could color them & use the back side of things you would dispose of…) and put them on the wall in the shape of a tree. You could make your own ornaments with special Christmas blessings listed on them… Remember, Jesus is the real reason for the season — He will provide you with some amazing memories. We also try to sleep around the “tree” on Christmas eve. We fall asleep listening to Christmas music. Just an idea…

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Cristi November 18, 2010 at 6:00 am

We start our holidays really early by bringing out our Christmas village in October. We are not big Halloween decorators so this is something we decided in our second year of marriage to do instead. We get to enjoy it longer and it takes the focus off of Halloween. We still do the trick-or-treating but this is something that the kids look forward to every year. It also gives us something to talk about when visitors come by and everyone loves it! Jesus is the reason we have the family that we have so why not kick start “His” season?
There are some awesome traditions that people have written on here. Such wonderful ideas. Thanks ladies!

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Lisa December 3, 2010 at 9:20 am

One of my favorite holiday traditions is “Cookie Day”. My sister, an extended family member, and I have gotten together every Saturday after Thanksgiving for the past 18 (or so) years to bake Christmas cookies for holiday season. We do 4 different kinds, spending the morning mixing, rolling, baking, etc. After lunch, we spend the afternoon decorating sugar cookies. All of our children (ranging in ages from 7-22 yrs.) have grown up LOVING cookie day! The kids are involved as much as they want…mixing monster cookies, cutting out sugar cookies, rolling Peanut Butter Blossoms balls in sugar, putting the Hershey kiss on top, and, of course, the decorating of Christmas shaped sugar cookies!

Christmas music adds to the holiday spirit. We have a lot of fun…bantering back and forth as we enjoy one another’s company. This year, we made 86 dozen…so we each had 28 dozen to put in our freezers to pull out anytime we need over the holiday season. We split the cost of the ingredients and it is really quite economical. The best part of the day (beside having all of the cookies) is spending time together!

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