Friday, December 13, 2013

What Makes Christmas wonderful?
Take a walk though memory lane, look back to capture a glimpse of what made Christmas magical for you, as a child.  As you reflect on your own memories it will give you a chance to add magic to this Christmas.  So what was it that made your's sparkle?


As I reflect on my childhood, our family's Christmas traditions started in October, perhaps the head start made the season linger longer and allowed for a stress free December.  
Here is a list of what Christmas was to me as a child:

1. Christmas projects,  I recall everyone privately working on a surprise.
2. We drew names and made gifts rather than buying them.  (We didn't know buying was an option.)
3. Our Christmas tree had hand made ornaments centered around a new theme each year. Examples: Hand blown eggs painted, 12 days of Christmas ( we used toilet paper rolls cut in half to make the drums), flocked tree with sugar starched twine balls.
4. Favorite candy making night.  We each picked a fav and cooked together to make them all.
5. Christmas letter put to rhyme by our mom.
6. Christmas breakfast, in my mind it was always the same.
7. Stockings customized with hand sewn images of our favorite things about Christmas, mine had holly, a bell and a snowman.
8. Listening to Christmas records on the phonograph
9.  Singing in the kitchen with family
10. Putting out a towel In front of the fireplace in hopes of getting a set of footprints from the man in a red suit.


As a parent, my husband and I selected favorite Christmas family traditions of his family and mine and then added our own.  Here are a few:

1. We had an ornament exchange party with neighbors.
2. For our children we had an annual old fashioned Christmas party with activities like pulling taffy, stringing popcorn with cranberries and making cards.
3.  Chocolate advent calendar ( we shared one and took turns opening a door a day)
4.  Themed Christmas trees, ('Twas the night before Christmas, melted snowmen tree, angel tree, birdhouse tree).
5.   Annual Christmas letter, we now have 33 pages (one per year)
6.   Waking up at Christmas morning from our first Christmas.  (kids at heart.)
7.   "Christmasing" another family using toys our children selected to share.
8.   Reading favorite Christmas stories, Jonathan Toomey is still a family favorite.


As grandparents, we decided to make memories with our grandchildren rather than give them more "stuff". We give them new pajamas each year. We decided if we started out simple we would never need to worry if we were fair to the first and the last grandchild.  Currently, we have nine grandchildren. I buy pjs usually a year in advance.Here are our Christmas traditions with our grandchildren:

1. We make gingerbread houses together.
2. We have a cousins party the week before Christmas and play games.
3. We read the story of Jesus's birth from the Bible and they act out the parts with nativity pieces.
4. Christmas letters include lines about them.
5.  We have a candy making party.
6.  We read stories of Christmas.
7.  We go to a Christmas play together.
8.  We build snowmen and then drink warm cocoa.
9.  We cut out snowflakes and making cards.
10. Snuggling by the fire looking at the Christmas tree.

From all three chapters (child, parent and grandparent) I think the magic is seeing Christmas as a child.  Making memories happens because we are together.  It really isn't the end of the world if the fudge turns to sugar or the tree lights aren't perfect.  Memories are made from ordinary everyday life and that is the magic of Christmas, every season!

By: Julie Owen 


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