Christmas Traditions

As many of you have probably gathered my family is very important to me.  The holidays remind me of those who are no longer with us to celebrate and how much our celebrations have changed because of their passing. It also reminds me of how much everyone has grown and changed over the years.  For example below my lil' man is no longer this cute little baby he is growing into a big boy daily.  

I grew up next door to my maternal grandparents.  They were the glue that kept my mom's family together.  After my grandfather passed away our family rallied around my grandmother to ensure the holidays were a special time not one for sorrow and sadness even though...there were times when we would miss his laugh...or him yelling at us for making a huge mess.  

Since my grandmother passed away almost 5 years ago our family has gotten more and more disconnected. We no longer all going shopping together or talk much anymore.  We aren't having holiday get togethers either.  Now in all fairness we are literally scattered across the country and even the globe and we all have jobs...some of us have jobs that tie us down a little more than others.  Here is how it works out...we have a handful of family living in Florida, a few in Georgia, another handful in South Carolina, and one apparently got lost and is living in New Mexico (i think) and then another and her family are in England.  So getting together all the time isn't necessarily as easy as it was a few years ago, especially since the grandkids now have kiddos of their own ranging in age from 3 to 17!!  Still I miss those times with my family.

To combat those lousy feelings I do my best to share some of our traditions or variations with my lil' man, in addition we have added some that are soley ours!

1) Decorating for Christmas begins the day AFTER later.  My grandmother always began the decorating process on Friday and on Saturday (our family Thanksgiving was ALWAYS on Sat...had to watch the Georgia/GA Tech game as a family...even if we were divided) we would all help decorate the tree.  And the boys would haul her outdoor light display out of storage and set it up...3 or 4 times depending on her mood.  Here is a link to my pinterest...always adding new ideas 

2) My hubby, William, Wyatt and I go out on the farm and find our own Christmas tree.  Now this does require some give and take on my part...meaning I will never have a perfectly groomed tree...many times we have trees that would have made Charlie Brown cry but this is a tradition we love...just look at these pictures from 2 years ago...

and these from just yesterday

3) We bake lots of cookies, cakes, and candies!  I always remember having lots of baked good growing up and enjoying creating those items with family.  One of Wyatt's favorites is Oreo here is a recipe I found online at 2 peas and their pod...
Oreo TrufflesAdapted from Kraft Food and Family and Bakerella 
1 package oreo cookies, 16 ounces (divided… use cookie including the cream center)
1 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
White chocolate-the kind made for dipping! Either bark or the discs. 
1. Crush cookies in a food processor and stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together. 
2. Roll the mixture into 1″ balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
3. Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry. I melted dark chocolate and drizzled it on the white! 
4. Once dry, refrigerate and enjoy! 
Makes about 36 truffles.
FYI: It helps to freeze the uncoated balls for a few minutes to keep the mixture from starting to fall apart in the melted chocolate. If this becomes a problem, dip them in the chocolate, let dry and then dip again. They are also good dipped in regular milk or dark chocolate. Try different types of Oreos for fun, such as mint, peanut butter, holiday, etc. 

4) We have an advent calendar- my grandmother had one but we never actually used it...just decoration.  We however use ours daily to help our lil' man learn what Christmas is truly about.  William & I believe that teaching our son to focus on Christ is a large part of our job as parents and the advent calendar helps us.  This year we have chosen to do a Jesse Tree.  The Jesse Tree is meant to symbolize Jesus’ family tree.  ”Jesse” refers to one of Jesus’ ancestors, and the “Jesse Tree” is specifically named so in reference to Isaiah 11:1 1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of JesseAnd a branch from his roots will bear fruit..  If you would like to learn more or make your own Jesse Tree check out Print Candee.  Below is a picture of our tree before we got started

So I didn't realize how many traditions our family had until I am going to stop here and finish the rest of our traditions up later this week... in the meantime why don't you take a moment and share what are your family traditions?  

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