We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by honorable family traditions and frequent family gatherings. My family enjoys both traditions and gathering. We have now closed out the 2015 Christmas holiday season, a time that included many traditions and gatherings.
My husband and I gathered with our son and his family here in Alaska while several of our children and their families gathered together in Utah on Christmas Eve and performed our traditional Nativity. Our Christmas Eve tradition includes a dinner of ham, cheesy mashed potatoes, and other vegetables. We usually have a birthday cake – angel food of course – and sing “Happy Birthday” to Baby Jesus; this is followed by our annual performance of the Nativity. Over the years I created many costumes for the Nativity; this year I mailed about a dozen costumes to my children for them to use in their Nativities.
On Christmas night my husband and I flew to Utah to spend a week. During that week we visited with two of my siblings and their spouses as well as my husband’s brother and his wife. We also gathered several times with our children and grandchildren and shared numerous traditions. The first gathering was a Sunday evening dinner. Other gatherings included taking all the children and grandchildren to see “Peanuts” - the new Charlie Brown movie, seeing the new Star Wars movie “The Force Awakens”, sledding, skiing, more dinners, and New Year’s Eve.
Our family is always visited by Little New Year. He came every year while I was a child and teenager; he came every year while our children were in our home, and he still comes to our children’s homes. When he came to my childhood home, he always brought candy and nuts. To my children, he still brought candy but also included crackers, chips, and other fun foods. A big bowl or pot is put out on the step in the early evening, and it is later found full of goodies. Treats are eaten, games are played, and the New Year is welcomed by drinking a “toast” to the coming year. Of course, our toast is non-alcoholic and includes all members of the family. Our children always took the pots and pans out to the front step and beat on them with wooden spoons. They now usually have fireworks except when the temperatures are too cold.
Traditions and frequent gatherings have kept my family close. We enjoy being together and having fun together whether the group is large or small. I am grateful to have siblings who are among my best friends, and I am also grateful that my children and grandchildren enjoy each other’s company. I know that we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by wholesome family activities and frequent time together.