I recently read an article about a large number of adults who wished they could skip the holiday season for two primary reasons: stress and financial strain. When did the holidays—a time of joy, gratitude, family, and cheer—become so stressful? We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that we forget to slow down and actually celebrate our Christmas traditions.
Gingerbread houses have been an annual Christmas tradition in my family since I was a child. I can still smell the burnt sugar my Mom made to glue together the freshly baked gingerbread houses. Every year she would take hours, if not days, making the gingerbread from scratch, baking them in the house molds then reducing sugar to use as glue to assemble them. Bing Crosby would croon Christmas carols while my sisters and I sat around the dining room table, full of bright bowls of candy and frosting, as we decorated our houses. We’d put a couple of pieces of candy on the houses then some in our mouths!
Decades later, we still gather every year to decorate gingerbread houses. These days we use kits, so the process is a bit easier, but the tradition is still so important to us and now to our children too. It’s become a part of their Christmas tradition to decorate a gingerbread house with their Mom, Aunts, Grandma and cousins.
The memories of our family holiday traditions are so vivid to me that I can close my eyes and recall the smells and the warm feeling associated with them. But if you asked me what gifts I received as child, I have a hard time recalling them.
While I certainly do my best to get my daughters what they truly want for Christmas, I put more effort into creating magical Christmas traditions with Lauren and Taylor. We decorate our gingerbread houses, watch the Polar Express, decorate our home and cook together. I just LOVE how the house smells during Christmas.
Another tradition we have is deciding who we will share our money with during this season of giving. For several years, we have “adopted” a family, which has been very helpful in teaching Lauren and Taylor the real meaning of Christmas. We not only provide the gifts they need, but I always try to pick a family that has girls close to or the same age as my girls. Lauren and Taylor will go through their clothes and toys to give beyond what the family needs.
Last year Lauren delivered the gifts with me. She and the children of the family became fast friends, and Lauren was so excited to show them all the clothes and coats that she and Taylor had selected for them. The little girls’ mom and I never spoke, but we stood there watching the magic of our children together with tears in our eyes. This is Christmas to me.
Right now the girls love opening their presents and squealing over new toys and clothes, but I also know that some day they will pass along our family Christmas traditions to their children, which is the greatest gift I can give them.
Please join me and my fellow bloggers around the world as we celebrate some our favorite Christmas memories. Hosted by my friend, Sicorra from TacklingOurDebt, a group of bloggers kicked off the holiday season by sharing some holiday memories today. You can read their stories and get into the holiday spirit by visiting TacklingOurDebt. The links to their posts are at the bottom of her post. I can’t wait to read about their favorite memories.
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