Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Favorite Christmas Tradition

Momrn2 at My Quiet Corner is hosting a fun Christmas blogging idea. Go here to join in or read about other fun and meaningful Christmas traditions.

My favorite family Christmas tradition actually occurs before Christmas. It happens on the night we decorate our tree. I usually have the tree put together and the lights are on it - all ready to be decorated.

The kids are all there for dinner - usually something nice like roast beef or lasagna. And we always serve dessert on this night. The dishes are done. The candles are lit. The Christmas music plays softly in the background and we all assemble in the living room. Each daughter is handed her own box of ornaments. Each box contains a homemade ornament that I have made for each year of her life. It took a few years for daughter #4 to understand that her sisters would always have more ornaments than her - and it wasn't because we loved them more! Each girl is given this years ornament and they add it to their box. Then each daughter hangs her own ornaments on the tree.

We arrive to the most important moment of the evening - the placing of the star on top of the tree. And the story of how the star came to be. You see on our very first married Christmas we spent all the money we had on a tree and we didn't have any ornaments. So we strung popcorn and hung some little wooden painted ornaments that my mother had sent me. But we didn't have a top for the tree. That would never do. So my husband cut a star out of some cardboard and we covered it in tin foil. My husband, a college student at the time, found a ring from his Greek memory cards and attached it to the back and that was what we hung on our tree. For some crazy reason we became sentimentally attached to that star - it always reminds me of where we were and how far we have come. And somewhere along the line of time it became a sacrilegious idea to ever think of replacing it with something else. Every year we tell our girls this story and of course we embellish it with how very poor yet how rich in love we were. They love this story. Then dad hangs the star and the girls all argue about who is going to get that star after we are gone! Daughter #1 always sheds a few tears - funny, sentimental girl!

After the tree is done we enjoy homemade hot chocolate made from half & half and Hershey's bars or egg nog. We add handmade marsh mellows and Peppermint Bark from Williams & Sonoma.

And we bask in each others presence.

As our girls are growing and moving and getting married and having babies, I sense that this tradition is about to change. Change doesn't have to be bad, but it is different and sometimes different is hard. We will adjust. New traditions will be formed.

But the old ones will always be pondered in my heart.


kittyhox said...

I so appreciate you sharing your special traditions with us. As a new mom, it's exciting for me to think that I (along with my husband, of course) will be creating our family traditions... but also kind of daunting. What an awesome example.

And I am uber impressed that you make ornaments! I am SO not crafty, but I suppose I could buy my children a special ornament each year. Although I don't know if boys would be as into that, and that's all I have, so far!


Change is very hard (at least for me, even if the change is better), but won't it be amazing to watch your daughters pass down your traditions to their own families?!

GiBee said...

Ack! Robin, you brought a tear to my eye when you talked about changing traditions. I can't bear the thought of when my 2 year old marries and leaves the nest, but it will happen.

This is a beautiful tradition, indeed!

momrn2 said...

What a beautiful and heartwarming tradition! I could just picture that star being lovingly drawn from it's box once again and the memories of all it meant come flooding back.

You also have my utmost respect for making all of those ornaments... just for your children.

What a lovely message to pass on to your children! The season is not about things... but about those we spend it with who make it so special!

Thanks for participating and for sharing this!

ellen b said...

I'm with daughter #1 tearing up while I read this wonderful story and tradition. Yes our kids get older, married and things change but one thing remains our rich heritage of love from God that we give to each other. Blessings....

Anonymous said...

Ah, I made it through this time. Beautiful tradition! Yes, time does change things. It's bittersweet each holiday that we are not a complete family here at our house. This is change and I really don't like it. I am thankful that my kids are happy. That's God's best for them.

Becky said...

Oh, Robin. Bittersweet. I loved reading this.

Your star story is wonderful. I would not change it either ... ever!

Our kids have boxes of ornaments too. We do the same. But the plan is to give each boy their box when they are married. That way they can begin their own traditions, whatever they will be.

I bet as long as your girls live close enough they will love coming "home" to help decorate ... and bringing the gang with them.

PLEASE put pictures of the new ornaments on your blog. I am pretty sure you have not done that yet, for fear they would see them. But once they are hung you are safe :0

Karen said...

Traditions are wonderful for keeping a family close. I love that you tell the star story every year.
Change is hard, but those memories will forever be in your children's hearts.
Thank you for sharing your tradition.

Susanne said...

Oh, the star story almost made me cry too! How precious!

My kids get an ornament every year too. Except mine are definitely not homemade though I wish I had the creativity to make them homemade. How extra special!

Dawn said...

This is a great story. And you're right, things are going to change greatly in the next few years. But they'll always have those memories and those ornaments. I especially love the star story.

Our first Christmas we had only the ornaments from our wedding trees the year before (white lights and blue satin balls). We had one special ball, which we've added every year. Each year I bought a new box of ornaments and replaced one of the boxes of satin ones, giving them to someone else. I hadn't thought about that for awhile.

As We Sail... said...

Those are very moving traditions. I loved reading about them.

Linda said...

You are making some beautiful memories for your family! Thank you for your encouraging words about my talk!

Angie said...

I love traditions...old ones and creating new ones that will pass on. This was a great post!

gail@more than a song said...

I loved reading your tradition Robin! I know you're so thankful your girls can still do that with y'all. Your star story is great! And I'm so impressed that you've got a box of ornaments for each one, nice job!
Now I'm wanting some of your hot chocolate...peppermint bark, yum.

Diane said...


I can tell by the way you wrote this holds deep meaning to you...and to your family. What a beautiful example of time spent with family.

I love it!


Willow said...

Robin, You didn't spill the beans, and a couple of others knew and didn't say anything either :). Bloggers are great.
The Mommy Snug isn't so hard to knit, mostly just knit and purl. You will learn two new processes: making single row button holes and making short rows. The magazine has the instructions in the back. Or and you'll learn to make the mock cables, both directions. If you decide to knit it, let me know and I'll walk you through any thing you don't understand. Check your directions--as the pattern tells you to "at the same time" AFTER you've done the cable ribbing. I messed up and had to tink some to put the buttonholes in.

MondaythroughSunday said...

I love your tradition! Don't you think that your children will remember these sweet times more than the gifts? I know I do now that I am grown with my children. You are will change...but think of the fun and more the merrier!!

MondaythroughSunday said...

oh..also, thanks for stopping by my blog..and your kind words.