Holiday Traditions

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My first Christmas, I was 11 months old and we’d been in the house 2 weeks. I’m the one being “held” by my two-year-old brother (my twin is the one with the teddy bear).

This season is full of traditions.

Regardless of what holiday(s) you may celebrate (or not), there are a myriad of traditions.

I celebrate Christmas, and there are most certainly traditions wrapped up with that holiday. Some of these traditions I love, some I’m not so fond of.

One of the things that I love when I think about the holiday traditions, like the homemade stockings we always used, is the sense of comfort that they give me. My first Christmas away from my family was when I was 19, and I spent it in Finland.  Away from home, away from my family, in a place completely unfamiliar to me I found comfort in being able to bring at least a few of the traditions with me.  Thinking to those different times I have spent Christmas somewhere so different from those first 18 years I realize that the times when I was able to incorporate some of my traditions were the years I enjoyed.  Making a stocking for someone I was spending Christmas with (like my Mom made for me), singing carols by candlelight, reading The Night Before Christmas, making particular cookies… all those things would bring a bit of that magic from my childhood into this season that I always found magical.

Reading the Night Before Christmas was a tradition when I was growing up, and I continued it however I could.
Reading The Night Before Christmas was a tradition when I was growing up, so I continued it — this picture was reading it at a seminary Christmas party a few years back.

I’ve been asking friends for their favorite traditions, and have loved hearing the responses.  People have all sorts of things, special things that have developed through the years. Some traditions go back for generations, but others are new — it’s amazing how quickly something can become a tradition.

So what are your traditions, the ones you adore?  New or old, what are those things that make the season mean something for you?

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