Aly & Molly's 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challege is upon us. I love this time of year so I am very excited to participate.
Day 1: Christmas/Holiday traditions
We have a few holiday traditions in out family so I will stick to what is probably my favorite one: Holiday Baking & Cookie Exchange
Of all Holiday traditions this is probably the newest one as well. For the last three years all of the ‘Land’ women gather together for a day of goodie baking as well as a cookie exchange. We kick off our day with a great breakfast and then get down to the business at hand. We chat and laugh and get stressed and have fun! I’m especially excited because this will be the first year that we are doing it where I will not be pregnant. Two of the years I was in the throws of morning sickness-and neither time had we yet ‘announced’ our pregnancy so I had to suffer in silence. This year there will be mass mimosas of celebration.
I think my favorite part about this tradition is just the togetherness of our family. Our family has always been fairly close and we ‘cousins’ are close enough to each other in age that we’ve been friends as well but as the older generation has bonded more strongly over the past few years so has our generation. Several of my cousins’ families as well as my sister’s family live in the same town and see each other regularly. We all have young families and sometimes the women don’t get to see nearly as much of each other as the men do so it’s nice to have this time together. When we see each other at Holidays now it’s hard to catch up when you’re chasing toddlers and nursing new ones. (There are seven cousins and between our families we went from having one 3rd generation member in January 2008 and by January 2011 – there will be NINE!)
Two years ago my aunt made a “toast” as we wrapped up our baking to the fact that her mother (my grandmother, who passed away when I was 11) would be so happy to see all of us Land women taking this time together to build such a wonderful tradition.
I know this post is getting long but I also want to mention a tradition that was my FAVORITE growing up as a child that has had to cease amidst the ‘Sharing Holidays’ that comes with being in a relationship.
There was nothing more special to me than sitting on the couch with my dad and my sister on Christmas Eve while my dad would read us the story of Jesus’ birth from the Book of Luke and then would read “The Night Before Christmas” from the same book that his dad had read to him. The book is tattered and very few of the pages are still connected. The Santa on the front has on a felt coat that has been worn down by the 60 years of rubbing.
The first year that I missed Chirstmas Eve with my parents, my sister and my dad called me so I could listen to him read it. I sobbed. One of the hardest parts about giving up this tradition is knowing how much it meant to my dad. Sure, Jen and I loved it, but it was so evident that my dad loved it – even when we were in our twenties and would still cuddle up next to him like little kids to let him read to us – still his little girls.
We now do Christmas Eve with my inlaws – which I LOVE. The tradition there is wonderful as well and it works wonderfully for celebrating the holiday, but I will always miss those Christmas Eves with Jen and Dad and little baby Jesus and the ancient Santa.