The Holiday Tradition You Are Already (maybe unknowingly) Making

Okay! December is here, and it’s a new Christmas season. Time to plan the upcoming weeks so we can make great memories and have great traditions for our children to remember. Let’s see… First, we have to have a wonderful tree-decorating experience. Let’s make sure we have enough hot chocolate for that. And a favorite Christmas movie. And let’s make sure we have the perfect decorations. Something color coordinated would be nice – red and gold; blue and white; rustic; modern – something that says, “This is our family tradition, and it will always be this way.”

Picture1 Well, that is how I approached Christmas for the first few years of our marriage. And once the kids came in to the picture, the stress for making the “perfect” traditions increased.

Do you stress over making this time a memorable one? Do you think that you have to have that perfect Pier One wreath or those adorable Target Christmas towels? Are you poring over recipes so that your hot chocolate will rival any Godiva chocolatier?

After all, you want your children to have the best memories of this glorious season. And I know that none of these things should overshadow the true focus of Christmas – that of rejoicing in the birth of the Savior of the World – Jesus stepping down from the heavenlies to become man so that we may have hope.

But in this celebration, we want everything to be perfect. We troll Pinterest looking for cute Christmas crafts and fabulous gift wrapping ideas. We stress, stress, stress amidst the joy, joy, joy.

Well, I had a huge eye-opener a few years ago. I was unpacking the Christmas decorations and began to take out our family stockings. I have a stocking my grandmother knitted for me when I was a young girl. When I married Dave, she lovingly knitted him one that matched mine – a snowman’s face with a top hat. It was the last Christmas stocking she ever made, and I cherish it.

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Well, when we had our first child, my grandmother was no longer able to knit. We had a very tight budget so purchasing a beautiful new stocking wasn’t possible.

It was up to me to make one for him. Now, I can’t knit very well, but I am pretty adept at crocheting. I thought, “How hard can it be to just try to copy the existing knitted stockings but use crochet instead?”

Well, it was hard. And though my son’s stocking had a snowman head on it, it was hardly a lovely one like the other two. But that was all we had, so we used it.

Fast forward to two years ago. I am now pulling out the stockings, one by one. Dave’s beautiful one made by Grandma, my older but still beautiful Grandma-made one, then the cringing begins as I pull out each of our four children’s stockings, with their wonky faces and sideways smiles.

I’m not kidding.

1 I was tired of having to display those embarrassing things. So I said out loud, “I think it is time for us to replace these old, ugly stockings with those beautiful embroidered ones I saw in a catalog.”

You would not believe the sudden uproar that followed.

“No! You can’t do that! Those stockings are our Christmas tradition!”

“Yeah, Mom. It just isn’t Christmas without those stockings!”

What? Those wonky things?

I replied, “But these things don’t even look like the ones that Mimi made. You can’t even see the pipes very well.”

And then the punchline hit. “Pipes? Those are pipes? We thought those were just smiles sticking out of his face.” Yep. These things are even worse in real life, folks.

Well, I can’t begin to tell you how surprised I was to hear that. It sparked a conversation with my high school and college-aged children to find out what traditions they considered to be part of our family Christmas. And I was astonished to learn how many of those traditions were not the ones I planned.

So I unveil an embarrassing part of my Christmas past to encourage you that you don’t have to stress over what the catalogs or movies or commercials are telling you you NEED to have in order to create loving memories within your family.

Just make sure to focus on the important things as you celebrate Christmas, and your children will cling to those things as they embrace BEING with you, REJOICING with you, LOVING with you.

Traditions should not be something we try to force. They gently, slowly come about as you go through your days, showing your children the importance of this Christmas season.

And if you ever stop by to visit us at Christmas, expect to see these six lovely faces greeting you!

Have a blessed Christmastime! :)

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FamilySherri Seligson