Tradition is scorned in some circles. Tradition in the church is scorned. “The only reason they do it that way is because that’s the way they’ve always done it.”
But Christmas traditions are stilled viewed in a positive light. They are anticipated with fondness, at least at our house.
I credit Sara with establishing many of our traditions. What follows are some of our Christmas traditions. I wonder what some of yours are. Please feel free to hit the “comment” link at the bottom of this post and type in one or more of your Christmas traditions that you cherish.
Decorations. Of course we put up the tree and put out many of the other decorations. I typically put up the tree with the help of some of the kids. Sara then puts on the lights and beads. Then everyone hangs the ornaments. Other features of this special day include special snack food, like cheese and crackers and salami, or Panera bagels and cream cheese, maybe some cookies, maybe some special drink. We also play Christmas music, and invariably one of the Veggie Tales Christmas CDs is in the mix. The kids sometimes wear their Santa hats, and usually White Christmas is put in the VCR at some point later in the day.
Carols. Each evening (with a few exceptions) between Thanksgiving and Christmas we gather as a family in the living room with only the Christmas tree lights on. Each person selects a Christmas carol, and we sing one verse of each carol together. We conclude with prayer. A simple tradition, but we all love it.
Lights. A few days before Christmas we load up the van after supper and head out to look at Christmas lights. Sara supplies us with popcorn and insulated cups of hot chocolate. Our route usually includes the house in Emerald Lakes with 80,000+ lights and the owner dressed as Santa in his driveway. The past couple years we’ve made our way down to Zanesville to the United Methodist Church with the light display synced to the music on an AM station. We always end with the giant Santa and reindeer and the giant wreath downtown. Another simple tradition that we all look forward to.
Christmas Eve Service. 6pm every Dec. 24th finds us at Northside for a simple service. The first half of the service consists of 5 Advent readings, written by Pastor Ryan, punctuated with Christmas carols. The second half of the service includes a video meditation on Christmas, a lighting of candles, and the congregation singing "Silent Night" to the accompaniment of a single guitar, which concludes the service.
Pancakes. Every Christmas morning, Pastor Ryan and his family make pancakes and other breakfast items for whoever comes to the church between 9:00 and 11:00. My kids wouldn’t dream of missing it.