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December Holiday Special
Christmas Traditions

More Ways to Add Meaning and
Continuity to the Holidays
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More treasured holiday traditions...

Clothing - The field is wide open for your interpretation. There are holiday sweatshirts and holiday dresses, and everything in between. Men can wear a red vest and a holiday tie on Christmas Eve. Childen might be encouraged to dress up at least once for Christmas Dinner and a holiday photo (take the photo first). You might find a great black velvet skirt and some glittery tops...

Holiday photography ©2000-2002 by Glenna J. Morton

Tableware - Christmas dishes can be found in most housewares and china departments, and will evoke the same holiday spirit whether they are the finest bone china or an inexpensive stoneware. Get a pattern you love, keeping in mind the placemats or tablecloths you want to use with it. Or, mix and match like a friend of mine does and buy one different placesetting a year -- the plates all go together because of harmony in theme and color.

Readings - Gather everyone by the fire and read something special on Christmas Eve... the Nativity, the Night Before Christmas, or one of the many other holiday related stories. One family I know asks each person at Christmas Dinner to come prepared with a short reading, poem, or memory story to share with everyone during or after the meal.

Entertaining - Think of something different that sounds fun to you, then make it a tradition. Organize a group of dads and daughters to see the Nutcracker Ballet... have a middle of the week open house supper... host a Sunday evening dessert pot luck party... take a van of friends to a Christmas Tree farm to cut trees, then return to your home for a simple meal.

Holiday photography ©2000-2002 by Glenna J. Morton

Christmas Eve - Family dinners, singing carols by the piano, playing Monopoly, taking a scenic drive after dark to view holiday lights... these are just some of the possibilities. One family takes the kids to Disneyland for the whole day (they swear the crowds are light).

Christmas Day - Have a routine so everyone knows what to expect. Open gifts beginning at a certain time, have a light breakfast as soon as the presents are finished, take a walk, try the toys, listen to music, call relatives, deliver Christmas cookies, prepare for dinner. One grandfather takes his grandchildren bowling Christmas afternoon, getting them out for some fun while preparations are underway for dinner.

Cookies - A few treasured family recipes, traditional cookie plates or jars, special holiday candies, decorations (frosting, colored sugars)... bakers may be delighted to share their creations at a cookie exchange or in cookie baskets given to friends.

Photos - Gather everyone and take a group shot in front of the tree every year. Take several, actually, because someone is sure to blink or move in nearly every shot. Or, sit on the steps outside your decorated front door. Natural light is best, and using a digital camera will allow you to view the results before you let everyone run off to do other things.

Music - Build a small collection of holiday CD's and play them thoughout the month.

Events - Go see the Messiah each year, or your church candlelight service, or A Christmas Carol, the Nutcracker, or one of the many local or professional productions in your area. You might also choose to make an even to watching a special holiday video such as "Scrooge" or "The Santa Clause".

Sports - Ice skating, hockey, tennis, skiing, miniature golf... the list is long depending on your area of the country. Like the Kennedys, have a traditional touch football game or take a walk in the woods or on a beach.

It doesn't matter so much which traditions you choose to observe as long as they are meaningful to you and your family. Incorporate things you love to do and they'll be a joy and not just another holiday chore.


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