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In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Life Lesson # 105 ~ Family Traditions

"Traditions have a very special way of keeping favorite memories forever in our hearts."  ~  Anonymous

It's that special time of the year again. Christmas is almost here. With December 25th getting closer on our advent calendar every day so are all the festivities, parties and of course our family traditions. We all have traditions, ways we celebrate, commemorate and honor our faith, family and the love we share. For us this season brings so much happiness, reflection and hope to be honest. It's not just the decorations or the food, not even the gifts that get us excited or the fancy gatherings that bring warm fuzzies to our hearts. No it's the people, our loved ones, our friends who fill our hearts with such gratefulness. Some years we have more than other years but that has never made or broken our Christmas. This season for us is more about the love, the joy and the memories we share.Wrapped up in all those particular things are our traditions. Some go back generations, while others are a few decades old and many more are simply new or expanding traditions.

As a little girl we used to put up an artificial tree. It was in fact my grandparents tree. My mom, the truth is she's always known how to decorate an exceptionally beautiful tree. I would sit in awe by our family tree when I was small. Looking up at the lights, the shiny balls, tinsel and ornaments I would  dream of decorating my own tree one day just like my mom. Now some 40 something years later I am decorating our family tree with one exception, we buy a real tree. To be honest I wasn't so sure about this practice but it was a tradition my hubby grew up with. After getting married we realized it was important to blend our traditions as much as it was essential to blending our families. And so our tradition of a live Christmas tree began. Buying our tree has always been an exciting night. For 17 years now, we've gone together, Johnny, myself and the boys as a family to pick out our tree. It's typically a Friday night, about 9-10 days into December and followed by a meal out before heading home to allow our Fraser fir to fall out. When the boys were little they would run through the trees of the nursery, on an adventure in Narnia before leading us to just the right tree for our home. We'd all pile in, usually cold but filled with excitement. Some tree have been huge, snow flocked or like this year small. Looking back today our traditions have definitely changed just a little bit over the years. The boys aren't so little anymore and they sure aren't forging through the forests of Narnia. However we are still picking out our trees together and those once small trips to the nursery are part of who we are and part of our history as a family.

As for decorating our tree, well it's just one of our many changing family traditions. We still make hot coco, put out some eggnog and make cookies as we always will. But some 17 years later we've also introduced a few new traditions along the way including making scotch eggs before dressing the tree for the holidays. It's one of our new ways to bring a little Disney magic into our festivities. One of our favorite traditions Johnny and I started was during our third Christmas together. Joshua was just a little over a year old and we'd just gotten back from both Johnny and Joshua's first trip to Disney World. Joshua had actually taken his first steps in the Studios over Thanksgiving and we were beyond excited about it. So being the new parents that we were we began buying gifts from Disney World or the Disney Store for our boys. These gifts would then magically appear on Christmas Eve night on our doorstep from Mickey. We continued this tradition for years with both our boys. Now at 17 and 20 Mickey doesn't leave gifts on the doorstep anymore but Disney is still a part of our Christmas magic. Gifts from Disney World continue to appear for all of us and those scotch eggs we love so much in Epcot now grace our table during the holidays. See traditions are not so much about ironclad and rigorous ways of doing things just because it's always been that way. No, just like the roots of a tree traditions are made to bend, to grow, to bloom even to change some and to remind us of the love we share together.

Life lesson #105 ~ family traditions are truly the heart of the home,growing from memorable moments into realities we can touch. I've learned this lesson from the time I could sit in my daddy's lap, from the moment I held my own children in my arms and now looking forward to one day being a granny myself that "Home is where memories are made and traditions are created." Christmas time is no different. James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God" This is what Christmas is really about in my eyes not how big or expensive the gift is. Traditions are much the same, they only hold meaning if they come from a place of goodness. So you see it doesn't matter if your traditions include biscuits and gravy, kolaches or hash and eggs on Christmas morning. Maybe your family opens gifts the night before Christmas. Maybe you attend services or have a simple gathering in your home on Christmas eve. It doesn't matter what or why you do what you do as long as whatever you do brings you closer together. For us, that means expanding our traditions and this year is no different.This Christmas we're changing things up a bit. No turkey for us this Christmas. I know crazy and un-traditional  right? Exactly my point. See it's not about having to do anything but enjoying everything you do together. So my grandmother's eggplant it is. We many not be Italian but this Christmas is looking to fall right in line with my Mama's godmother's old world roots. We'll keep to our Southern flair with a pecan pie and of course my family's favorite Christmas soup among other old and new family traditions. But who knows maybe we'll have a new tradition by the end of this Christmas season we hold on to for years to come.

I think what I have come to understand is this:Family, traditions and our homes are not made for showcasing our happiness to the world. No, those moments are made to express our joy, happiness and the love we share together with one another inside within our homes. So today I leave you with a quote I love the most. Take it to heart and let it take root this season in all your family traditions both big or small, old or new. Remember, "It's not about how big the house is. It's how happy the home is." ~ Anonymous

~ Christina

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