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.   


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