Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family Traditions

Now tell me Hank, why do you drink? Why do you blow smoke? Why must you live out the song that you wrote? Sorry.  The title of this post reminds me of Hank Williams Jr.  My sincerest apologies, really.

Justin and I completed our Christmas Tour 2011 on the weekend before Christmas.  We drove 546 miles, saw 3 families, some friends, and then wrapped the 5 day weekend with an awesome concert.  It was a long, tiring, really great weekend.  I don’t think that we have ever seen all three families consecutively for Christmas before, so this was a first.  Each family does Christmas a little different, and each family has their own traditions.
This is the second Christmas that Justin and I have spent all by our lonesome.  People asked me all the time, but what do you do all day, all alone.  Well, I will tell you. Our Christmas celebration starts on Christmas Eve.  Usually there are last minute errands that need ran, and the house always needs straightening up. (I swear little gremlins come and destroy the house when I am not looking.)   I think that Christmas Eve is synonymous with baking, so I made Cookie Dough Bites this year.  Very tasty even though there is technically, no baking
For the second year, we have attended a Christmas Eve service.  We attend the one that Megan sings in, it is a beautiful service.  At the end of a busy, hectic, holiday season, it centers me and gets me focused on the real reason for the season.  
Christmas morning, we sleep in and lay around until we decide to get out of bed.  We go open presents and our stockings. After we open presents and ooh and ahh over them, I will cook breakfast.  During the time between breakfast and lunch, we talk to each our families.  Then we take the morning to play with our new stuff.  Then I cook dinner.  This year I cooked a Creamy Italian Chicken Pasta.  I got the idea from Pinterest.  I know it’s not your traditional Christmas dinner, but I will discuss that in a few.
It was a very enjoyable laid back day.  I didn’t get out of my pajamas.  I love our family very much, and I miss them terribly on Christmas.  (It helps since we get to have our own private Christmas with them, the weekend before, but still...)  But it is great to spend Christmas not rushing, not stressing, just enjoying the day.
With all the thought of our Christmas and Christmas with our family, it has gotten me thinking about traditions.  Which traditions that I will take from our families, and which ones I will replace with new ones.  Now I haven’t gotten it all figured out, but here are some things that I definitely want to incorporate into my family’s traditions. Now keep in mind, some of them are for the future.
  1. Italian dinner for Christmas Dinner – This is a BB original.  We always attend several Christmas dinners before the big day.  So I get a little tired of ham, not to mention all the effort that goes into cooking a big Christmas meal.  I want to cook a good, filling meal for my family, but I also don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.  That’s why Italian is the perfect choice.  You can easily make a Lasagna the day before, and just throw it in the oven.  Serve with some garlic bread and big salad. Bingo!  This year, the chicken and sauce was cooked in the crock pot, and all I had to do was boil some noodles.  Christmas dinner is 30 minutes.  I think this plan will free me up to have more time on Christmas morning with my family,
  2. Reading the Christmas story BEFORE opening presents – This one is stolen from my parents.  Every Christmas, we would read the Christmas story before we were allowed to open presents.  Now when I was little, I would shake all my presents, arrange them in the order that I would open them, and then wait for the Christmas story to be read.  Yes, I was still very focused on the presents under the tree, but it made me very anxious for my dad to get to reading that Bible!
  3. I want to continue to think quality or quantity when it comes to presents.  I always want to take the time to think about the recipient, and choose something that is specially meant for them.  They say, “it is the thought that counts”, well I think that is totally true.
  4. I like to leave my Christmas tree up until after New Years.  I don’t know where this came from.  I like the idea of Christmas lasting and bringing in the New Year.
  5. This is a future one.  Once Justin and I have children.  I want to set up the manger a little differently.  I want to set up the manger that is empty, except for the animals and the shepherds.  I want to put Mary and Joseph (no baby Jesus) in a separate room and the kings in a room even farther away.  Before Christmas, I want to make a point of moving Mary and Joseph closer to the manger every day.  And finally on Christmas Eve, they arrive at the manger.  And the Christmas morning, Baby Jesus is “born”.  The wise men then began making their journey to the manger to arrive on New Years.  I read this in a book, and I thought it was a brilliant idea.
  6. I want to continue to have stress-free relaxing Christmas Days!
I think that is all for now.  Expect a post this week, showcasing some of my Christmas presents and new projects!

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