Thursday, November 20, 2008
For the next couple of weeks, Internet Devotions is hosting a holiday extravaganza of sorts where every Thursday there will be a new Holiday topic to write about and share. I've decided to take part in this as I love, love, love the holidays and it just sounds like fun. So, here goes.
Since Thanksgiving has not come and gone as of it yet, and we all know how I feel about celebrating Christmas early, I'm going to focus first on Thanksgiving. Our traditions for turkey day seem to vary a bit and have been ever evolving since the birth of Hambone. My husband and I have family in four main locations across the U.S.: Colorado, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee. Of course, we do our best to make our rounds, but a kiddo and a tight budget make travel a little, well, challenging. Never mind our hectic work and school schedules. Needless to say, we never really know where we will be for Thanksgiving until just about a week or two before hand.
Thanksgiving for us, like most Americans, is a day full of "F" words: family, food and football. We sleep in, watch the Macy's Parade (a big favorite of mine - I'm a marching band junkie), eat lunch, watch football and sleep. Aaaah. Then, OMG, then after nap time, WAAHOOO the Christmas lights are turned on, the Christmas music turned on and the "most wonderful time of the year" begins. During the noon meal, however, there is something that my parents started a couple years back that I have come to love for very special reasons. You see, we sit down to eat together, all hold hands to pray and then we go around the table and each person shares what they are thankful for. It's a beautiful thing hearing other's thanking God for their blessings. It warms your heart, really. Then we sing Johnny Appleseed and dig in.
Christmas is a whole different bag of goodies. Because we are usually out of state for the Turkey day, I like to hang my Christmas lights and do all my Christmas decorating the weekend before we leave. Let me take a moment to say something here. Though I may decorate and hang lights, I do NOT turn them on for more than a few moments but to check that they are working. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people hang their lights before Thanksgiving and then turn them on. Would you believe I have a number of neighbors who have put up their lights on their house already and are TURNING THEM ON!!! This is just annoying. If you do this, I still love you, but stop. It makes complete sense to put them up before the bad weather. But turning them on? Let me also say that if Santa is still on your roof in February and you are still lighting him up, I hope teenagers get him in the night. Well, maybe not. I don't promote violence or destroying other people's property...but...your plastic Santa needs not be showing his face in February. Wow that's annoying!
Christmas is a time of many, many traditions. We watch Christmas movies all month long, listen to so much Christmas music that we're turning it off before Christmas because it wearing us down, bake sweet treats. We attend our church's Advent Festival, go to the mall to visit Santa, lay under the Christmas tree and look up at the lights. One of my favorites is loading up the car with friends, family and fabulous Christmas music and heading out to the "spendy" part of town with some Starbucks Peppermint Mocha and touring the Christmas lights on the big houses. This takes a couple hours and is sooooo much fun! This is my tradition and I love it.
For years we've made homemade popcorn balls with my grandma and they are decorated in multi-colored candy coating. I love that too. I also enjoy writing my Christmas letter and getting the cards sent out the day before Thanksgiving so people get them right afterwards. I love getting Christmas cards early from people because then I can set them out and enjoy them all month long.
There are of course Christmas parties to attend for work and friends/family. On Christmas Eve is when my family does their big celebration. Usually we attend the Christmas Eve service at church, then head to the house for our annual spread of chili and Oyster stew. Then the kiddos spread out the gifts to all the family members. We all sit down in a circle then and go from youngest to oldest opening one gift at a time. This takes hours, but is a lot of fun and involves lots of laughter, pictures, conversations and memories. Also, when someone gets a toy, we all play with it. It's just a rare opportunity to sit down and 'play' together. Santa comes in the night and in the morning we run out to see what Santa brought. The little ones have gifts on the fireplace from the Big Guy. The rest of us have tiny stocking gifts. Then, we sit around like the night before, but open little stocking gifts from oldest to youngest.
One of my recently new traditions is with my brother where we share gag gifts. I get him a real gift, but I also get him something super funny too. A couple of years ago I was in a sportsman's store and by the check-out I saw a container with a monkey on it. It was called "Anti-Monkey Butt Powder". I about died laughing in the store and I knew I had to get that for him. It's for several uses but my brother has a motorcycle and this is supposed to be used to avoid chaffing from sitting on the bike for so long. Anyway...great gift. Then another year I got him "Crack Spackle" from Duluth Trading Company. It's a Spackle like bucket that has a long (in length) t-shirt to help cover up "plumber's crack"...if you catch my drift. Another priceless gift. I have a couple of ideas for this year and I just can't wait. I get more of a kick out of this tradition than my brother for sure and probably anybody else for that matter, but I get a great laugh out if.
Well...these are my holiday traditions in a nutshell. I hope you share yours. Shalom to all of you!
Posted by Freddae' at 8:10 AM