Friday, December 21, 2012

My Mom Is Awesome/Christmas Traditions


Ever since I can remember my mom has always bought us these advent calenders. I can't remember a year without them. Even while on my mission down south in Argentina for two Christmases, I always received a little rectangle package with two advent calenders, one for me and the other for my companion. I realized this year as I received our little advent package with big black words written on them (DO NOT OPEN UNTIL DECEMBER 1ST) just how much these little calenders mean to me.They mean traditions. Traditions mean family. Family means love.

While looking through the Ensign last week I came across a section from the talk by L. Tom Perry that really stood out to me (you can find the talk here). Under the section titled "The Importance of Traditions," he says:

"Make the honoring of family traditions--holiday traditions, birthday traditions, Sunday traditions, dinnertime traditions--and the development of new ones a priority throughout your lives. Honor them, write them down, and make certain you follow them. Studies show that the reason young people join gangs is for the tradition and ritual of belonging to something larger than self. That is what a family should be. Be certain you are creating a rich environment in which your family can look forward to special times of the year when traditions hold you together as a great eternal family unit."

My parents did such a great job of making our home a home of family traditions, especially at Christmas time. And even when I am thousands of miles away from them, I can still count on my special advent calender each year.

As I was thinking about this tradition I began to think of other family Christmas traditions. Whether big or small, each one is special to me:

*Sleeping by the Christmas tree as a family on the night of the 23rd and watching a family movie together (the year we watched Oliver always stands out to me, not so sure why. And the year my family met Darin and he was the only one who stayed awake through the entire movie, haha).

*Making Christmas goodies together and then separating them on plate to bring to friends.

*Christmas caroling with Dad on the accordion as we drop off the goodies.

*Tons of Christmas movies.

*Christmas stories/books at night.

*Reading the Christmas story in the Bible.

*Making presents out of cardboard paper and writing on the back our present to Jesus for that year.

*Easy Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast. Orange and Vanilla.

*Tons of snack foods (cheese balls, crackers, nuts, veggies, olives etc.) and sandwiches (yummy rolls and tons of different meats and cheeses to choose from) for Christmas lunch/dinner. (We stuck to easy foods on Christmas so that mom wasn't in the kitchen cooking all day on Christmas and could be with us and I absolutely LOVE this tradition).

*Having the missionaries over in the afternoon and making stockings full of goodies and missionary things for them.

*Driving around looking at Christmas lights while singing to Christmas music and sipping hot chocolate (okay, I might have made up the hot chocolate part. I actually can't remember if we had hot chocolate but Darin and I do now, so maybe it's a new tradition).

*Stamping and addressing Christmas cards with mom.

*One of "the kids" waking up, then waking all the other "kids" up and then jumping in mom and dad's bed to wake them up while singing a Christmas song.

*All of us sitting on the top of the stairs together waiting for the padres to give us the okay (might not seem like a tradition, but it totally is. EVERY YEAR. Darin thought it was funny that we still did this even though we're all older, haha, but it's fun to still be a kid at heart).

*We all dump out our stockings together and talk about what we got.

*Divide the presents into piles for each person and take turns opening them going from youngest to oldest.

*Video taping Christmas morning and going back and watching it year after year.

I'm sure there are things that I am forgetting. It's been awhile since I've been a kid at home for Christmas, but these are some of the many things that I remember about Christmas at my house growing up. More than anything I remember the feeling of love that each one us had for one another. I can see why traditions are so important. They give you something to look forward to as a family. Something that connects you and holds you together. What great memories. I can't wait to continue these traditions and start new traditions with our children. 

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