Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Families grow stronger by sharing uplifting Christmas traditions. Celebrating with special Christmas traditions reinforces the true meaning of Christmas as well as adds fun, unity, and warmth to our family gatherings.

Many families have the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree together. In our home, my husband always had responsibility for making sure that the tree was straight and secure in its base. He then added the lights and the tinsel. When he had completed his tasks, the children and I were then free to add the ornaments. Now that the children are all married with homes of their own, the pleasant experience of hanging the ornaments is totally mine.

Our family had another tradition that is shared by many other families. Each Christmas the children were given a new ornament of their own to hang on the tree. When the holidays ended, each child’s ornaments would go into an individual box. By the time the children were grown, they had many ornaments to take to their new homes. Since my children are all married, I have changed this tradition to giving a new Nativity set to each family. I collect Nativity sets and use them to decorate my home for Christmas. I have sets of many different types, sizes, and colors from several different countries – and I enjoy them all. Some of my children have continued this tradition in their own homes.

Another tradition that my family enjoys is acting out the Nativity story each Christmas Eve. I am very pleased that my children and grandchildren all enjoy participating in this activity at our Christmas gatherings and continue the tradition in their own homes when we are not together.

Many families have a tradition of singing Christmas carols together or going Christmas caroling to their neighbors. One family of my acquaintance has such beautiful singing voices that friends and neighbors make appointments for them to come caroling.

Another fun tradition, particularly for families with young children, is to read a special Christmas story each evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some families add a special scripture and song also.

Christmas morning traditions at our house included meeting in the parents’ bedroom for family prayer and then going to the Christmas tree to open gifts. The youngest person always has the opportunity to open the first gift, and then it is the next youngest child’s turn – all the way back to the parents – before the youngest one opens another gift. This way all family members have an opportunity to see the others open gifts. It also serves to lengthen the gift opening time so that it lasts longer than just a few minutes!

A tradition that my husband insists on is the annual family basketball game. This tradition is a fun one when we have access to a basketball court. Other times we choose a different activity to do together. I think our activity for this Christmas will be a family hike. Our family also enjoys playing board games and card games. We are all very competitive and so our games get very exciting. The spouses and grandchildren are learning that we can be competitive and still love each other.

The types and kinds of traditions are as individual and special as are the families who participate in them. It is always fun to learn of the traditions that other people enjoy and then adapt them to our own family. Uplifting Christmas traditions always bring us closer together as a family as well as reinforcing the true meaning of Christmas.

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