5 Simple Family Traditions for Christmas
Much like most people in Western culture, Christmas is absolutely my favorite time of the year! Being an immigrant to the United States and having lived in various states meant I had to adapt to different ways of celebrating the holidays. As a child in my home country - Grenada, Christmas meant getting my own money and shopping for the toy I wanted. It also meant eating the celestial fruit that seemed to appear on my tropical island once a year around the holidays…the apple.
In Brooklyn, New York, where my family migrated to in the nineties, Christmas meant cold weather and snowfall. I’d seen the white magical powder on many Christmas cards and finally had the chance to experience it. Although it never snowed on Christmas Day when I lived in the Big Apple, it was still a wonderful time.
In Killeen, Texas, where we moved due to the military, Christmas meant a little bit more. I’d given my life to Jesus as a young adult and that made all the difference in the season celebrations. Additionally, money was fairly tight which made me appreciate the few gifts I received but it kept my focus on the reason for the season.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma where I attended college and later got married, Christmas meant that dreams really can come true. The life my husband Wil and I built reflected the holiday postcards I saw growing up. We had the two kids (one boy and one girl), the fireplace, the tree, the decorations, the stockings, the presents and the friends.
Finally in Los Angeles, California, where we have now transplanted, Christmas means family. It’s been a challenging year mentally, emotionally, financially and relationally. Although many things had to be assessed, redefined, let go of and changed, we focused on the most important aspect of our lives following our faith, our family. I am happy to say, that through the evolution of life, we’ve managed to hold on to some traditions.
The following customs have helped keep my family together:
- We play Christmas music, watch Christmas movies and light scented candles when we put out holiday decorations.
- We play the White Elephant game every Christmas Eve. Our kids look forward to it because it is a time when we turn off technology and have fun with one another.
- On Christmas Eve, our kids get to open one present each.
- Each person takes a turn opening a gift on Christmas Eve. We open one present at a time, savoring the moment.
- We stay home for Christmas. This is the time of year when we choose not to be busy.
Most families have their own traditions around the holidays. And although customs may vary and have different meanings, it is important that your family has its own. Traditions give us hope that the seeds we plant in our children and loved ones will be passed on generationally.