There are some things that just make it feel like Christmas. Its different for everyone, but most of them have to do with family. The things you’ve always done. Mine are no different. Most of my favorite traditions are ones I grew up with, ones my Mama taught me. 🙂 Here are just a few.
In my family, we don’t make pies. Or cakes. Or trifles for Christmas. We make cookies. There are multiple kinds and some change every year, but there are certain ones that must be the same EVERY SINGLE YEAR. It wouldn’t be Christmas without Ice Cream Cookies, Pecan Crescents, Date Pinwheels, and Sugar Cookies. We make these cookies in the days leading up to Christmas, but no one (except maybe the cook) gets to eat any. They are stored in the same beat up Christmas tins that live in the attic most of the year and then, on that glorious Christmas Eve, they all get put out and enjoyed after dinner. Wonderful, I tell you! Wonderful.
Decorating the Christmas Tree
In my family, we decorate the Christmas tree together. It’s cozy. Christmas music is playing. Hot chocolate is most definitely involved. We reminisce about the ornaments that we bought on our honeymoon or our daughter’s first Christmas. Its sweet and quiet. An evening that I cherish.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
Heat enough milk on the stovetop to fill all your mugs – a good idea is to use your mug as a measuring cup. Whisk the milk as it heats, add 2 tablespoons of sugar (or less) and 2 of cocoa for each mug. For example, 3 mugs of milk with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of cocoa. Whisk everything together until steaming hot. Enjoy, preferably with family.
Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
Some of my earliest Christmas memories involved squirming through the Christmas Eve service, dying to get home for cookies and the following day. Thankfully, now I’m able to think through the service a little more. It is such a sweet time of music and praising God for sending His son to a dirty, stinking stable for us. What an unspeakable gift. I am so thankful for time to gather as a church body and celebrate the birth of our savior. Its a centering and grounding time. A reminder to pause and be thankful. A reminder to worship.
Lasagna on Christmas Eve
One thing, about the Christmas Eve service is, it leaves very little time to prepare dinner. Thats why my Mama started the lasagna tradition. You can make it days or even weeks in advance and then pop it in the oven day of. No fuss. Just a cheesy, bubbling dinner when you get home from church.
Christmas Morning Devotions
One thing I am so thankful that my parent did surrounding Christmas was to constantly remind us kids of why we were celebrating. Cookies and hot chocolate and presents are fun, but they’re also fleeting. None of those things will make you happy. None of those things will fulfill the deep longing in your heart. Only a relationship with our perfect savior can do that. My parents kept the Christmas focus on Christ, not the extras. I’m so thankful for the reading of the Christmas story came before presents. I’m thankful that they were intentional. I’m thankful that I can teach my daughters just why were celebrate this season with great joy!