Thursday, November 20, 2008

Favorite Christmas Traditions - #2 and #1

My 2nd favorite Christmas tradition started when the kids were very young and is currently on hiatus...but it will come back in 3 short years....can you say "empty nest"?

Early on, Steve and I realized that Christmas morning was all about the kids and that our gifts to each other just seemed to get lost in the chaos. We were lamenting this one year to another couple and they shared with us their Christmas Eve tradition. We quickly adapted it to our family!!

Favorite Christmas Tradition #2 is a special Christmas Eve dinner in front of the fire! On Christmas eve, after church, Jesus' birthday party, all the kids were put to bed and toys were built, Steve and I would have a special picnic dinner in front of the fire......boiled shrimp, special cheeses and crackers. We would exchange Christmas gifts, but most importantly we would exchange love letters. Each year, we both take the time to hand write a love letter to the other. These are such treasures for me! This tradition has been modified a bit since the kids became teenagers, and no longer go to bed early!! We now include them in our dinner and share my #1 tradition. Some day, Steve and I will get our candle light dinners back, but for now I wouldn't have it any other way!

My all time #1 Favorite Christmas Tradition is letter writing. Letter writing? Yep. Let me explain. Steve's and my love letter writing started one year as poor seminary students. We couldn't afford gifts that year and each of us, on our own, wrote the other a letter and placed it in their stocking. We loved it so much, the tradition stuck. How wonderful to get a letter telling you all the reasons why you are so loved!

Well, when we had kids, I wanted to encourage this in them. We started out on Christmas eve having them tell each other why they loved and appreciated them. When they were old enough to draw, we had them draw it in a picture and give it to their sibling. And when they were old enough to write, we had them write a letter to each sibling and then read it to them on Christmas eve.

Of course when they were young, the letters were short and sweet. I wondered what they would do as they got older........would they think it was lame, would they refuse to do it, would they treat it as silly? But they totally amazed me! As they got older, the letters became heart felt and sincere.......simply beautiful and always very creative! You talk about feeling the is really a special evening for us and a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas.

gotta love the bleached hair!

This is very simply the best tradition I have ever started in this family. It has poured over into birthdays too as the kids write and give beautiful letters to family members.

They have learned the power of the written word!

So there you have it! My top 5 Favorite Christmas Traditions. Thanks for all the great comments! I believe traditions are meant to be shared and would feel honored if any of these found their way into some one else's home! Enjoy!



Mom To Six said...

Oh Sara,

I LOVE BOTH THESE TRADITIONS!!! We, unfortunately, spend Christmas Eve away from home each year, but it may be something we could do Christmas night.

I also love the idea of the letters for the siblings. I don't know if my older guys would do it (especially since they HATE writing) but it's worth a try. You continue to be such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing such wonderful traditions.



Carol said...

Hey, nice to have found you. I can see you love your children. I do too. I teach also, so I have many children. Check me out if you have time. Thank you for sharing your Christmas traditions! Carol

Carol said...

Hey, nice to have found you. I can see you love your children. I do too. I teach also, so I have many children. Check me out if you have time. Thank you for sharing your Christmas traditions! Carol

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Wonderful Traditions....I especially like the letter writing! Thanks so much for sharing all these wonderful Traditions, they make a family strong! :)

Beverlydru said...

Wow. The letters... what treasures indeed. Keep going - no rule says you can only share 5. Encore, encore!!

Sara@ Butterville said...

And you did not disappoint!
I buy Rob a hallmark card. See I make cards for everyone else. I BUY him a card that says exactly what I'd say if I could think long enough on what to say without my mind wondering... He used to write me poems, I told him I would like that again, but time is the enemy and kids, well who can think straight around them. Honestly Sara, when they aren't around we're too busy if you know what I mean, to umm be writing! ;)
And I forgot to tell you yesterday I TOO have holiday dishes. I say holiday because the are Winter Frost, with snowflakes and wintery scene so I use them through winter. I love my changing dishes.

Esthermay said...

My throat is tight reading this. . .Priceless, precious, perfect memories! I'm teaching mine little ones to read and write now - so it's a few years off - but what a WONDERFUL tradition. AND Your photos are priceless;

You must go leave your link at a special page just for the 11/20 "Traditions" Posts:

EVERYONE should see this one!

Kindest Thoughts,

Esthermay said...

OK... Call me the blog police today. I told my friend Kate to visit you 'cause I knew she'd appreciate the "letter writing." Apparently you linked your name back to the Internet Cafe.
This sounds SO like something I would do -- ya' know cut and paste and forget what's cut....
Anywhooo - delete this comment if you want....
OH! btw... DH really enjoyed your Italian door photos and informs me he' like to "do" a door theme for his office. AHH! Great when men actually ya' a hint for gift idea.

Traci said...

My goodness, how sweet! I would love a letter from my husband or my boys for Christmas. OH and the Christmas Eve dinner....dreaming of it now!! :) thanks for sharing!

Rach@In His Hands said...

Sara, Thank you for sharing this!

Letter writing is a simple, but incredibly special & powerful gift! My hubby and I are the "poor Seminary students" who are saving pennies to adopt our baby. We weren't going to get each other anything this year...thanks for reminding me that we don't need to buy anything to give something wonderful.

HisFireFly said...

Love letters on Christmas eve.. oh my.. now I'm teary eyed! I think we might have to join in on ths lvoely tradition you've shared. Thank you and bless you!

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

So sweet! I absolutely love this idea! What precious memories you have created.