Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Maybe it’s the snow on the trees, the hot chocolate, the Christmas lights or maybe it’s just the cozy feeling it gives me; a feeling that warms my entire soul. My favorite Christmas memory is standing at the top of the stairs looking down into the living room and seeing our huge Christmas tree sparkling with lights. Both sides of my family came that year. It was one big, giant, Christmas at our house and the feeling that moment gave me was one I kept my entire life.
As the Holiday season approaches, memories of traditions have flooded over me and I thought what a perfect way to start December with some holiday traditions that my family has done for years, others have done or ones that Blake and I have started with each other. I even asked others to see what traditions they love doing!
Number one. Cutting down a real Christmas tree together as a family. Every year the grandkids go out to Blake’s grandma and grandpa's woods and pick out a Christmas tree together. Grampa Ted, brings his hand saw and allows each kid to saw some off. Everyone gets to be apart of cutting it down. Christmas at the cabin is always filled with magic it seems. Grandma always has cappuccino ready, warm Sally Anne cookies, pistachios, and fresh pomegranate to snack on. The wood stove warms the house and the delicious smells fill the air as the tree we’ve picked out sits in the living room with antique ornaments hanging all around it.
Number two. Reading the Christmas story out of the Bible together. This is a tradition my family has done for years and it’s also something one of my friends has done as well. When I asked her what traditions her family does, she told me that after christmas dinner her papa would always read the christmas story out of Luke. He passed away when she was six years old but her mom just by chance had recorded her papa one time reading it. So, every year they continue to sit and listen to him read it. She explained that this tradition built the foundation for the traditions she now has with her own family.
Number three. Picking out a special ornament each year that represents the year ahead or the year that's passed. My husband, Blake, started this tradition the year we moved to Nashville. He is sentimental and it’s one of the many reasons I am so in love with him. Both of us love traditions with meaning behind them. This year we decided to pick out two! He suggested we buy a dancer ornament in honor of opening our dance studio. While we searched for that ornament we found an ambulance ornament that read “Saving lives is our mission”. This September was a year since he got his dream job as a full time EMT, so we felt it was fitting that both of our ornaments this year represented the dreams we have accomplished!
Number four. Lefse. Lefse. Lefse. My family also has this wonderful tradition of making lefse but it’s a tradition I have found many people do yearly! If you don't know what lefse is, it’s like a tortilla made out of potatoes, buttered and sprinkled with sugar all rolled up tightly. Many people spend hours, if not days, making this delicious treat.
Last but not least, one tradition that never seems to pull my heartstrings like this one, is the one with music. I came from a family that loves music. It runs through our veins and bleeds out of us. Every year, during Thanksgiving and Christmas, my grandpa and great grandpa would pull out their guitars and play christmas tunes while my sister and I sang loud and proud. My great grandpa would take out his favorite guitar, he called his “Big Blonde” and would play the song Pretty Papers. His voice was raspy and low. I watched as he slid his hand up and down the neck of the guitar and play each note crisp and clear. I remember thinking “I could listen to this all day”. Things are different now, my great Grandpa passed away while I was out in Nashville a few years back. This year, my sister and I played Pretty Papers and danced to it in my kitchen together reminiscing over all the beautiful memories we got to share with him.
Traditions are something that I find so special. Something that makes us remember what celebrating the holidays and being around family is all about. In closing, holidays change, peoplepass on, families separate, but personally I think even the simplest traditions can bring so much joy to the heart. So make your own or cherish the ones that have been in your family for years!