How many holiday traditions does your family have? I think it’s wonderful to pass on the traditions we grew up with to the next generation. Oh, they don’t have to do everything exactly like we did as kids, but there is a lot of comfort and joy to be found in doing some of the same things that’s been done for generations in our families.
It does make you wonder, just how many of our traditions have actually changed over the past few generations. My friend Karen asked her parents how they celebrated Christmas when they were young. Karen’s mother told her that all they really got for a present was a stocking filled with nuts and fruits. They hung their stockings on Christmas Eve and were up bright and early to see what “Santa” had left them.
Her daddy’s experience sounds very much like her mother’s. They both grew up in rural Oklahoma during the post-Depression years. Gifts were not the main focus during their childhood. But food did play a big part of their holiday celebrations. Both their families went hunting for a wild turkey to eat. Their mothers spent a lot of time in the kitchen making pumpkin and pecan pies. Sweet potatoes were always on the menu, as well as cornbread stuffing, packed tightly in “the bird.”
Hanging my stocking on Christmas Eve was a tradition I always looked forward to as a child. I always left Santa some cookies and milk, even after I found out that my daddy was Santa! I was also allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve. It was so hard to decide which one to open.
Daddy always read me the story of Christ’s birth from the Bible. He also read me “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” These traditions were so much fun to experience with my own young relatives. Knowing they also keep these traditions with their grandchildren, makes me think, “He must have did something right.”
All my siblings are married with children of their own. With the marriages have come new traditions that they’ve included into their own special Christmas events. My closest relative and her husband, always go to the mountains to cut down their tree right after Thanksgiving. Their two boys love this tradition that came from their daddy’s family.
Do you know when your holiday traditions began in your family? Make this the year that you ask your elders about their childhood Christmases!
Here’s some questions to ask your elders to get you started!
1. Did you spend time with your grandparents during the holidays?
2. When did you open your presents? On Christmas morning, or Christmas Eve?
3. Did you ever go caroling?
4. What kinds of food did your mother make that was special on Christmas?
5. What kinds of gifts did you receive? What was the best one you remember?
6. Did you make any gifts to give to others? What were they?
7. Did your school have activities during the holiday season?
8. Were you ever in a Christmas play, or did you sing in the choir?
9. Did you ever go to visit Santa before Christmas? Where did you see him?
10. What was your first Christmas like, after you were married?
11. What did you cook the first time you prepared the holiday meal?
12. What traditions do you hope your grandchildren and great-grandchildren continue?