Christmas Traditions

What are your Christmas traditions? This was the question a mom asked at our mom’s group this past Wednesday. Growing up, I can very vividly remember our Christmas traditions – getting together with my dad’s side of the family on Christmas eve which meant a big meal, opening presents, and seeing family that I often didn’t get to see (and sometimes a visit from the big man himself which usually meant my dad is costume). Christmas day was spent eating a big special breakfast consisting of a breakfast casserole and monkey bread followed by opening presents at our house and then visits from or around to different family’s houses to see what they got and to see them. I am sure there are more but its funny what sticks.

When Ed and I got married, we took turns visiting our families at Christmas and fit in to their traditions. When we started having kids, and especially as they got older, we started evaluating what our traditions would be for our family – we came up with a few new ideas and a few ideas from our families. We have change it a little over the years and I am sure we will continue doing that, but here is the jist of our traditions:

  • The weekend after Thanksgiving, we decorate the tree and house together.

  • Before Christmas, we surprise the kids later one evening by having them change into their PJs, having them find a golden ticket that grants them admission into the car, and telling them to get into the car. We give them popcorn and hot chocolate and then we ride around to look at Christmas lights on our own “polar express.” We haven’t been able to do this tradition the past two years since moving to NYC and having no car, but we are hoping to pick back up on it this year.
  • We always take one trip to visit Santa somewhere – the first year in NYC, it was Macy’s. The second year was Bloomingdales, and this year, we went back to Macys.
  • On Christmas eve, we attend a Christmas Eve Service where we remember what the season is all about, and then we head home to eat appetizer foods (chips, dip, wings, meatballs, other dips), and the kids get to open their gifts from each other.
  • On Christmas morning, we start the morning by eating a big “special” breakfast (usually homemade cinnamon rolls, crock pot grits, and/or monkey bread) and then reading the Christmas story in the Bible. We love doing this and slowing the kids down to think about Jesus instead of just rushing into the gifts.

What are some Christmas traditions you have with your family? We have heard of everyone getting new Christmas matching PJs, Christmas caroling together, and the Christmas pickle. We are always open to adjusting ours so I can’t wait to hear!

 

 

And the answer is…..

Well, I survived…I made it through the panel. All in all, I thought it was very good and I loved hearing everyone talk and learning from them and getting to know them. If you are interested in listening for yourself, check out this link:

http://newlife.nyc/sermon-archive/?enmse=1&enmse_am=1&enmse_mid=87

I learned some very important lessons through this experience:

1 – Our church has three services on Sunday mornings and I learned that I have major respect for all those who stand up and do this every Sunday – the worship team, the choir, the speaker, the people sharing announcements, and so on. It is absolutely exhausting to do it three times and by the end of the day, I was worn out. God sustained us while we were doing it but whew….

2 – Wearing a skirt while sitting on a stool on a stage is not a good combo. If I ever do anything like this again (beyond just standing on stage and sharing at a church), I will think harder about my outfit selection. I thought for sure I was going to flash everyone there.

3 – If I ever have extra to give to the church, I will make sure it is designated for better chairs for panel members to sit on. I told Ed at one point “These chairs aren’t made for people with big butts” to which he replied “These chairs aren’t made for anyone at all.”

4 – If God calls you to do it, he will provide the words, courage, strength, etc. to do it. I felt so very unqualified to be up there, but I trusted our leadership and that God had something he wanted to share through me.

In other news, remember me sharing about the girls’ school collecting items for the community to help others for November? They shared today that they were able to deliver to PS 446 (the school with a large number of kids in shelters) a total of 13 bins with coats, clothes, winter wear, and toiletries, collected 400+ hats for Ellie’s Hats,  5 boxes of toiletries for Coalition for the Homeless, and 800 socks for Socks in the Box. Isn’t this awesome?  Major props to the parents and children at PS101 – they showed up to give to others in a big way!

Also, since this post is full of random things anyways, let me say this: I love Christmas in NYC. People are genuinely more happy, beautiful decorations are everywhere, and there are so many fun things to do this time of year.

Today, we took the kids to Macy’s Santaland. Two years ago, we went and ended up waiting for hours to see Santa. They started a new reservation system last year where you have to register for a time so it will cut down on wait times. The kids wanted to go see Santa so we decided to give it another try. We took the Long Island RailRoad into the city, which the kids have never ridden before, and they loved seeing the conductor punch people’s tickets just like they do in the Polar Express. Then, we only had to wait about 20-25 minutes to see Santa which was not bad at all. The kids were so excited to see Santa, and Brynn did great until we actually reached Santa and then she wasn’t having it.

Then, we traveled to Grand Central Station to see the train exhibit in the Transit Museum. It was crowded but the little kids LOVED it. I think they could have stood there and watched the trains for hours.

Then, we traveled home and got to enjoy a visit from my brother and Tim. We enjoyed some good Chipotle and Martha’s Bakery and fun conversation. It has been a while since we have seen them so it was so good!  I don’t think I have shared on here that I have a brother who lives in Manhattan and works as a kitchen designer with Lowes. He moved here about 10 months before we did so while he works crazy hours, it is really fun to see him when we can.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend like we are enjoying ours!