Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Favorite Traditions

This little baby Jesus is about two inches long and is made out of a corncob wrapped in a blanket. It is as old as I am and has been my favorite ornament for as long as I can remember. Decorating the tree together was a meaningful family event in my family growing up and I would always save the baby Jesus for last. When my brother got a little older and caught on to how cool it was to place the last ornament he would always try to save his favorite ornament for last, but I was tricky and would hide the baby Jesus somewhere safe until everyone thought the tree was finished. We'd turn off the lights to sit back and see it and then I would take the baby Jesus out of the hiding place and find the perfect little 'nest' of branches to place him in.
The tradition continues! Cameron, Olivia and I (and soon Caleb), always decorate the tree together with music playing and yummy treats waiting. It's not fancy, it doesn't really have a theme, and all of the best ornaments seem to be clumped together around Olivia's height. But the baby Jesus is still placed last and very thoughtfully.
This little wooden manger was given to me by my mom when Olivia was a baby. It's a smaller version of the one my family had growing up and next to it sits a bundle of straw. The first Family Home Evening night of December every year my mom would teach us a lesson about service and how doing service for others is like doing service for Christ. Each time we did something thoughtful (and usually secret) we could put one piece of straw in the manger. The idea was to fill Jesus' bed and make it soft for Him by Christmas Eve. I vividly remember looking for secret good deeds to do and then sneaking into the living room to place my straw in the manger.
This tradition lives on as well, and more then any other tradition, Olivia has truly taken it to heart. It's so fun to see her putting her straws in the manger and watching the pile getting bigger and softer the closer we get to Christmas. It's even more rewarding having her ask "Mom? Can I do a service today?"
A few years ago she added to the tradition by taking the corn cob baby Jesus out of the tree on Christmas Eve and placing Him in the filled manger.
Here is one I started on my own. We always read this book together as a family in the light of the Christmas tree each year. It is my very favorite Christmas book ever and it is so beautiful. If you have not read it, go find a copy this instant! I promise it will make you cry and remember Christ.
So what are some of your favorite family Christmas traditions? I would love to hear them!


lpettey said...

Those are some great traditions. I love when traditions stay with you forever. One tradition that we still do is the Norweigen dinner. We usually would have it during christmas eve, but now we do it sometime close to christmas. This is actually a tradition of my moms, since she is norweigen, but now that she is passed away it's nice to keep the tradition alive to remember her.

Liora said...

What fun traditions!! Where did your mom get that super cute manger?? I want one! WOuld you please let me know, I've only seen them made of popsicle sticks, but that one is way cuter!

Anonymous said...

That's really awesome! Thanks for sharing!