Originally posted on Elizabeth Anne Designs: Living, this essay reflects on childhood Christmas traditions. Enjoy!
Growing up, we drove every year to see my grandparents in Tampa for Christmas. I remember counting trucks on the long drive during the night, sleeping on a pull out sofa with my siblings, and listening to my brothers crack jokes as everyone drifted off to sleep.
As we have all married and started our own families, our traditions have adapted and changed to include the many children in our family. We can’t always meet in the same city at Christmas time; jobs and in-laws sometimes prevent that.
Traditions we have preserved are Christmas Eve with my immediate family and Christmas day dinner at my grandmother’s house with our big extended family. My favorite Christmas tradition is gathering our family together on Christmas morning and reading the Christmas story before exchanging any gifts. Whether I can be there or not, I know these traditions continue. I can participate by thinking of them, knowing that they are missing me. This year, only one brother and his family will not be with us on Christmas day. We’ll be thinking of them constantly as we celebrate all of our family traditions.
This season has always produced feelings of love and reflection. One of my favorite quotes from A Christmas Carol describes this perfectly. It takes place at the beginning of the book, when Scrooge’s nephew comes to see him and defends his love of Christmas.
I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round–apart from the veneration due its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be can be apart from that–as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. A Christmas Carol, pages 5-6.
As I begin new traditions with my husband, and let go of traditions impossible to continue, I hope for a season filled with charity, forgiveness and love!