In our busy everyday schedules and in our effort to make Christmas special, we can sometimes forget what Christmas is truly all about. “Keeping Jesus” as the main focus of Christmas was what moved me to start some Christmas traditions for my young family. Some of the traditions were passed on from my parents and grandparents. Like observing Advent…this is the expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the birth of Christ and the return of Christ. It begins four Sundays before Christmas. You light a candle at the beginning of each week, there is a devotion every day centered around the coming of Jesus. One year we made a tree skirt that told the story of Jesus birth, we also baked a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day.
The Christmas cookie making started when our children were very young and still at home. Of course we had to use my grandmother and Tante’s (aunt in German) Christmas cookie recipe. It wasn’t just the wonderful taste of the cookies but the anticipation of going to my grandparents and playing with my cousins, the feeling of love and family. We have carried this tradition on with our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We still try to pick a day around Thanksgiving when most of our family is here to make our cookies. Some come home Thanksgiving just for the cookie making. Those who can’t be here have started their own tradition in their homes or wherever they may be, sometimes carting homemade cookie dough all over the state of Texas just to continue the tradition.
Christmas is the season of love, joy, giving, and family. Traditions are a way of combining all of those into one beautiful package. I can’t explain the feelings of blessing and joy watching my family laughing, sometimes throwing flour and smearing icing on each other or just enjoying being together. Seeing the children’s eyes wide with wonder and imagination. Decorating their cookies, licking their icing sticks (we do send their own cookies home with them – ha ha) and getting icing all over their faces. Those special times of being gathered together for one tradition also may lead to other traditions. The grandkids (Stewart & Elaine’s) after making Christmas cookies would put on a play for the adults to end a wonderful day of fun, food, and family.
These are some of our most treasured memories. If we’re having a bad day all we have to do is look at some pictures of our cookie baking days and the children’s plays, then remember how blessed we are.
We want to thank Elaine Norrell and Torrie Gilleland for sharing this post.