Last week, as we watched Fiddler on the Roof, the opening scene made me contemplate why we were watching this movie every December during Hanukkah. We're not Jewish. Was it because we just love the movie? Or that we love the themes in the movie? Or maybe that we just love spending time together? Why and how did we start this crazy tradition? ... And not just this tradition. Why do we have most of our holiday traditions? What is the importance of them? Why do Scott and I feel compelled to do things a certain way every year? Why do we go to such great lengths to makes these traditions something we repeat? Why do we have traditions?
Scott and I LOVE traditions. We grew up in families that had wonderful traditions. Some/most of these traditions we wanted to carry on. We also believe that traditions and stories are what makes a family unit close. So when we got married, one of the first things we did was sit down and decide what traditions we wanted to "carry on" and what new traditions we wanted to start.
So here are a few of our Christmas time traditions and why/how they got started:
I mentioned that we celebrate Hanukkah in our own unique way. And the reason? Because we LOVE the movie Fiddler on the Roof. We also began eating blue candy canes while watching the movie, because blue is one of the official colors of Hanukkah. It's a fun tradition.
Like many people throughout the world, we also enjoy decorating for Christmas. Unlike many others, we do not use Santa Claus and reindeer and presents and candy in our decorating. We decided to focus only on the story of Christ's birth. Everything we decorate with is a nativity. Scott has supported this crazy tradition and obsession by helping me decorate and adding to this immense collection of nativities. It's a wonderful way to focus on the "real reason for the season!"
Four years ago, we started another tradition with our good friends: the Bettenhausens and the Thorntons. We call it The DeThorntenhausen Christmas celebration. We all get together and have dinner and a gift exchange. Then we play games until late at night. It’s really a fun time with some of our “adopted” family….
I made Amy a cross-stitch of the names of Christ...
Key Lime Pie was excited to receive a Recipe book and holder...
Kotten Kandy couldn't have been more spoiled with 712 writing prompts and a journal...Growing up, Scott's family always had a delicious spread on Christmas Eve. Tradition required several important dishes: twice-baked-potatoes, ham, turkey, pistachio salad, red hot jello, homemade rolls, DeGooyer stuffing, Bettenhausen sweet potato casserole, and bubbly. I am not a great cook and do not like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but Scott picks up my slack on Christmas Eve. We are always super spoiled with a heavenly feast.
We loved sharing our traditional Christmas Eve meal with these amazing Sister missionaries...Christmas Eve has become our sacred celebration in our home. We love spending time together. We read Luke 2. We give gifts to the Savior in a white stocking that remains up after all the other Christmas decorations are put away. And we watch The Nativity. We love spending the evening remembering Christmases past and discussing the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It's our favorite part of the holiday!
We also love the tradition of Christmas pajamas. This year, we invited the Sister missionaries to participate with us. They loved their new jammies too!
Kotten Kandy, Hermana Graham, Key Lime Pie and Hermana Porter
New PJs are AWESOME!
Even the Sisters thought so too...Christmas stockings are opened first thing on Christmas morning. It's a fun way to start the rest of our laid-back, happy celebration.
-Christmas Morning Smiles-So traditions have been a wonderful addition to our family life. They have helped us grow closer as a family. But more importantly most of our traditions help us remember the love of a God who gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, for us and our salvation. We hope that these traditions will help them remember the important things: God, the Savior and family! Just like Tevya said, "... Because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do."
This isn't a tradition, but I wanted to share:
The Sister missionaries wanted to come over and "play" Christmas Day, also. We really enjoyed having them for Christmas Eve so, of course, we said "YES!" They spent 3 hours giving my daughters make-overs. It was super fun and the results were amazing! We love the sisters!
Hermana Porter curling Key Lime Pie's long locks...
Hermana Graham doing Kotten Kandy's make-up and hair,,,
Key Lime Pie
(I especially loved how they framed her eyes with her eyebrows.)
Isn't she absolutely gorgeous?!
(Her eyes popped with her eye makeup and her hair was so different and fun.)
She's beautiful! Eh?!