Monday, December 5, 2011

Memories of Family Christmas Traditions

One of our family Christmas traditions is to hang stockings for "Santa" to fill.
We go through our stockings first thing on Christmas morning.
Our stockings are not filled with wrapped gifts, but small unwrapped items, some are special or useful and some are just for fun.
After the stockings, we open our gifts while sitting around the tree sipping on mugs of tea or hot chocolate.

OK, I need to clarify.  This is a tradition I brought to our marriage from my childhood.
When I was a little girl my dad told his memories of finding an orange, nuts, and a toy in his Christmas stocking when he was a child.  He was very strict with my brother and I about keeping the fun tradition of stockings and opening gifts only on Christmas morning.
The hubby's family had very different Christmas traditions.
But, they also had a house full of anxious children.  He had 8 siblings!
They didn't hang stockings.
Santa came early in the evening on Christmas eve while his mom and the kids
 were out driving looking at the Christmas lights around town.  
When they arrived back home, Santa had come. 
Did they ever wonder why his dad didn't go with them? 
Memories of Family Christmas Traditions

I remember when Aunt Mary had become blind with Macular Degeneration and could no longer make her Kentucky Jam Cake and her Fruit Cake Cookies.  She cried because it was her Christmas tradition to make those special treats for family and friends.  I cried with her, and told her we would make new Christmas traditions. 

Oh, how we miss her jam cake and fruit cookies, my mom's cranberry orange bread and thumbprint cookies, and Aunt Ida's coffee can bread, just to name a few.  
I don't even try to duplicate those recipes because they just wouldn't taste the same. 
As my friend Mary says, "you can't compete with a memory." 

We began some new Christmas traditions.
 For dessert we enjoy homemade southern pound cake with peppermint ice cream or southern hummingbird cake.
AJ and KJ decorate the Christmas cookies. 
(We make cookies from a package instead of baking all day, as I did when our girls were little.)  
Country ham and biscuits are a must!
We decorate our Christmas tree while listening to Christmas music. This year, AJ has been playing carols on the piano while we all sing along. 
We have a family afternoon tea during the holidays.
We leave cookies and milk for Santa.
GJ reads the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible before bedtime on Christmas eve. 
On Christmas morning, we open gifts, one at a time, with the youngest beginning first.
A few years ago, I gave the daughters and sil's their personalized stockings which once hung with ours.  They celebrate with their children on Christmas morning in their own homes. 

These are just a few of our family Christmas traditions. 
We have several more I could share, but I would like to ask you to please leave a  comment and share as few of your family holiday traditions.   


Rosemary said...

Oh Linda, such special Christmas traditions! Every Christmas Eve my father would read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Once the story is done, we would hang our stockings with care and head off to bed. On Christmas morning, presents are opened with great haste and excitement and then we sit down to a bountiful Christmas brunch. Our turkey dinner with all the fixings is served later in the afternoon and then we open the stockings. Family traditions... few have changed over the years!

Marilyn said...

There is something so special about family traditions at the holidays. We have the same one with the stockings on Christmas morning too. This Christmas it will be a bit quiet as my daughter and her boyfriend are going to his families for Christmas. So traditions do change sometimes and this year we will find something new to do.

Mom Walds Place said...

Hmm, maybe we are long lost relatives, because so many of our traditions from the past are similar. Like you we are making new ones. Not only because the generations are changing, but because our children are becoming grown. Life is a continuous adventure.

It is so nice to have found your blog. Please stop by my place and say hi sometime. Merry Christmas!

parTea lady said...

What lovely Christmas traditions your family shares. We didn't have a lot, but I remember my Mom's homemade gingerbread men, fruitcake and steamed pudding baked with love. We children always looked forward to the stockings that my Dad's employer gave us and the gifts that Santa would only bring when we were all sound asleep on Christmas Eve.

racheld said...

Family presents on Christmas Morning---for the ones living in the house (or whoever's visiting), for we have a Bean Supper the night before, with everybody we can gather, with presents then from us-to-them and them-to-us. I love the reading of the Christmas Story, and Twas the Night . . .

Coffee and tea in the morning, then some coffeecake or pastries at the coffee-table as we open our gifts and stockings.

Phone calls from all the scattered chillun all day long, then Christmas Dinner late in the day, swaying over into candlelight time.

A big lot of our group will be here after, staying for New Year's Eve, and THAT'S when the crackers and hats and kazoos and games will come out at the table.

Steph said...

Linda- Do you know the book, Memory of a Large Christmas? See if your library has it - you might enjoy it.

martha said...

What fun to read of your traditions, old and new. One tradition I love is making the special gingerbread house each year which is shared with the neighborhood children after Christmas Day. It is magical to see their eyes dance when they see it.

Angela McRae said...

I loved reading about your family traditions! Mine have changed since I got married a few years ago, but when I was younger we always exchanged family gifts on Christmas Eve and the "big gifts" from Santa came Christmas Day. Christmas church services are always a highlight, and in recent years I've enjoyed the Candlelight Services on Christmas Eve (never had those while growing up).

Antiques And Teacups said...

Thanks so much for sharing your family traditions. Isn't it so fun to merge different ones and come up with a new set!

Marie said...

I love your wonderful Christmas traditions, Linda! It was sad about your aunt being upset she could no longer bake the special treats for the family!

We had a tradition that was handed down to us from our great-grandparents in Alabama. The first person to say "Christmas Gift" on Christmas morning would get a kiss. Usually someone would chime out just after midnight to beat everyone else! :-)

Stockpiling Mom said...

You just made me cry! I love that so many of my Traditions came from you :-)

Susan said...

I was touched by your mention of
certain Christmas memories tied to a specific person/recipe so imprinted
in our Christmas memories for life!


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