Call me a softy for the holidays, but I have come to love the traditions and nostalgia that come with Christmas! It has become even more important to me to continue these traditions and even create new ones as my girls are now old enough to remember, appreciate, and look forward to these traditions.
The first tradition happens near Thanksgiving and is repeated in homes world wide… the decorating of the tree. I usually decorate for the holidays myself without help… maybe because my family knows that I have a place for each decoration. But, every year I am adamant that we will decorate the Christmas tree as a family with the Christmas music singing away in the background. This tradition started the first Christmas after the husband and I were married. And the best part… our parents had saved a collection of our ornaments from childhood and brought them to help decorate our first tree together as a little mini-family. Now, years later, our collection has grown and the girls have started accumulating ornaments that will someday be passed on for their first trees (sniff, sniff… I can hardly think about that!).
As we hang the ornaments, we relive the memories of the Christmas each ornament represents, the time we made a craft ornament, what our hobbies were growing up, and now how we have truly blossomed into a family with “1st married Christmas”, “Baby’s 1st Christmas”, hand printed ornaments, and pictures on construction paper hearts. I truly smile every time I watch the tree spin around!
Once the tree is finished, I am once again on my own for the decorations… but I don’t mind because this is where I really begin to reminisce! I move on to a nativity I hold near and dear to my heart… one my Grandma had made for each of her grandchildren when they got married… until me. Her arthritis was so bad by the time I married my husband that I did not receive the traditional gift at my wedding. Was I disappointed? Absolutely. Did I understand? Absolutely. So, imagine my surprise (and the tears that followed) when my mom arrived at our home 6 months after the wedding with a box from my Grandma. It contained a note on top that was barely legible because writing had become so painful for her. She explained that she knew I had always admired the nativity at her house and wanted to make me the same one… it just took longer due to her limitations. It was a true labor of love! It might look simple, but making it took months, and it carries memories a picture can’t even begin to show. It sits in a manger found in an old grocery bag in a pile from my other Grandma’s house after she passed away. It’s amazing that it was not thrown out with the trash! Having the two together makes me feel a little closer to my Grandmas every year!
And finally, it’s time for The Village. I first laid eyes on this village when I was dating my husband and would visit his grandma’s house. It was beautiful… it was expansive… it was magical. It would take her days to construct it every year, and it was worth it. To see it all put together and come to life was amazing. I would stand in awe every year when looking at all the details… the buildings, people, and lights! Years later, she moved and her new home did not accommodate the village like her former regal living room did. I felt so blessed when she called and offered part of it to our family (the other part went to my husband’s sister). Now, it is our tradition to carry-on!
It is so peaceful to look around our home at all the traditions we have carried on from generations before us. We are so lucky to have such a rich history to pass on to our girls and someday their families. All things old are truly new again when we help them live on…