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A History of Christmas Traditions

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 16:07
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Christmas is the high point of our family’s year, and passing down family traditions as well as creating new memories with our four children has been one of the true joys of parenthood.

Some of our favorite Lutz family Christmas traditions include:

Christmas countdown

We start getting into the holiday spirit with our Advent book tradition, which means reading a Christmas story every day. We also do a Christmas movie marathon, including cheesy Hallmark ones, from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Attending our children’s holiday programs is also a must, which my husband and I usually joke about. Seriously, have you ever heard a group of middle schoolers singing Christmas carols and playing brass instruments?  However, regardless of the squeaky voices and instruments, we wouldn’t miss it for the world!

Christmas cards, stockings and gifts

Can you believe there are over 2 billion Christmas cards sent in the United States every year? I love receiving Christmas cards—and while may be easier to send electronic cards, there’s just something magical about an old school mailbox full of Christmas cards.   Though I’ve also realized over the years that if I want to hear from friends and family, I also have to make the effort and send cards.

Another favorite tradition is hanging stockings by the chimney. How about you? Does your family fill stockings with expensive gifts or trinkets? I realize this tradition varies from family to family, but we tend to fill our stockings with smaller gifts like bubble bath, new toothbrushes, gum, or even trading cards. Speaking of gifts, another gift tradition at our house is making and giving calendars filled with family photos from the past year.  But be careful what traditions you start.  This last year, life got busy and I didn’t make said calendars and did I hear about!

We have also found that Christmas is a natural opportunity to teach our kids gratitude for all that we’ve been given, and that in turn, we should give to others. Sometimes we’ll sponsor a family, or go through our toys and books to see what gently used items we can donate.

Christmas Eve and Family Dinner

Attending Christmas Eve service as a family is an important part of our celebration. We attend our 7 p.m. service and conclude our Christmas Eve celebration with the ritual of opening pajamas and slippers after church.

A great celebration wouldn’t be complete without good food. I’m sure every family has signature dishes prepared and served for Christmas dinner. In our home, the traditional Christmas family dinner often includes a roasted beef tenderloin (because we eat turkey at Thanksgiving), cheesy potatoes, and because of our Italian heritage, every celebration includes some sort of pasta dish, such as lasagna or homemade ravioli. And just in case you’re wondering why most Americans have roast beef or ham for Christmas, here’s a fun article and video about the difference between American and British Christmas traditions.

Christmas celebrations differ depending on religion, country or even personal preference, but the important part is being able to share it with family and friends. What are your most enjoyable and memorable Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear about them!

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