There are moments in life when we wish we could stop the clock and make the moment last. Christmas Eve usually has those moments for me, especially as the children have grown up and left home. Every other year, everyone is home for Christmas, although it usually works out to just a few hours with everyone together.
This is a special year with everyone home, because we’ll actually have three full days together, all twenty-two of us in our regular-size house. We’ve already moved furniture and stored some pieces just to have floor space!
Every family is different, and when a couple marries, they have the opportunity to create their own traditions. No one says you have to keep traditions that become outdated or no longer meet your needs. When our children were all small the traditions were different than they are now when four of them are married and three are in college.
Start new traditions as your family grows and changes. Your traditions should serve you, not the other way around.
Just remember that although some traditions are not convenient or easy, they are important. They are part of your family’s story, whether your family includes one person or many. They mark the passing of time and give your family a sense of belonging and togetherness with a shared history.
Some of our traditions for Christmas Eve are to eat a feast of finger foods, open gifts from siblings, read the Christmas story from the Bible and have a drawing for individual Scripture verses for the year. The Christmas Eve menu has grown over the years, and here’s a fairly new selection that is quite popular:
¼ – ½ tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste (we usually substitute ground red pepper)
½ tsp. lemon pepper
½ tsp. garlic salt
1 pack ranch dressing powder (or 2 TBS if you buy in bulk or make it homemade)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 bag pretzels (anywhere from 12 to 24 oz., depending on strength of flavor you prefer)
Mix spices and oil in gallon-size plastic bag. Add pretzels and shake. Let set for a few minutes, then pour into container.
We can’t really stop the clock but we can stay present in the moment. It takes effort and planning to pull off traditions but the memories are so worth it. Take the time to create some holiday atmosphere, even if it’s your first time. The moments will last the rest of your lives in everyone’s memories of home.
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