Gratitude Day 377

Wed., Dec. 18, 2019

Matthew 1:18: This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place.

There are SO MANY wonderful Christmas traditions; things we look forward to each Christmas holiday. Do you have favorite traditions? I certainly do. Today, I’m sharing my 10 favorite Christmas traditions.

10. Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve – this is a tradition from my Mom’s side of the family. Growing up, our evening meal on Christmas Eve was ALWAYS oyster stew. We’d eat supper a little early that night, so we could get farm chores done before church. For years, the menu was the same: oyster stew, crackers and cheese. As various people joined in our Christmas Eve celebration, my Mom began to make another kind of soup as well, as not everyone likes oyster stew. Hubby Rick and I continue the original tradition and have oyster stew on Christmas Eve.

9. Driving around to see the Christmas lights – growing up in a household that was always strapped for cash, my parents welcomed any activity that didn’t require much money. At some point around Christmas, we’d load up in the car after chores and drive around and look at Christmas lights. Since we lived in the country, it required a bit more travel. But one we looked forward to. We didn’t put up a lot of outside decorations at our house. Seeing others was truly fun.

8. Brunch with our grandkids – this isn’t really a tradition. But it was a highlight of our Christmas celebrations last year. For years, Hubby Rick hauled milk, meaning he picked up milk from the farm and delivered it to the processing plant. Shortly before we were married, his son Darran took over the Vielhuber milk route. Darran continues to haul milk. It’s a job that requires someone to run the route every day. This means that Darran almost always works holidays. Last year, a few days after Christmas, Darran and the kids came to our house to celebrate Christmas on a Saturday morning. I fixed a big brunch of eggs, bacon, pancakes, and biscuits and gravy. The kids LOVE breakfast and LOVED this brunch. They didn’t know what brunch was before this morning. When I explained it to them, they liked the idea. Often, granddaughter Ellie will ask me if we can make brunch together, purely because they loved our Christmas brunch so much. I hope we can do this again this holiday season.

7. Sitting by the Christmas tree and watching the lights. I love an evening during holidays when Rick and I can simply sit in the dark and watch the tree for a while. I know; it’s nothing big. But it’s so important to SLOW DOWN and enjoy the things that remind us of the reason for the season.

A basket full of Christmas cards

6. Receiving cards from family and friends – Right now, there’s a big stack of Christmas cards sitting on our island that have not been opened. Why? Because I want to have adequate time to read and enjoy them when they are opened. There are folks on our Christmas card list that we ONLY hear from during Christmas. I love seeing pictures and hearing about what’s going on in their family. After Christmas, I have a tradition where I sit down with all of our Christmas cards and read through them one more time. Then, I pray for each family individually. This has become a meaningful way that I specifically lift each family up.

5. Watching “The Sound of Music” – this is my all-time favorite musical. I can recite most of the lines as they are being spoken. Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the movie is on television. I love to watch this movie over and over. I know it’s not specifically a Christmas movie, but I just love to watch it during this time of the year.

4. Singing Christmas Carols– for me, music is an important way to worship God. It’s a way to share theology and beliefs about God. Christmas carols are no different. Early in our marriage, Rick and I sat at the piano one night shortly before Christmas and sang carol after carol. IT. WAS. SO. MUCH. FUN. Maybe, it reminded me of how I used to do this with my Grandma Deaton. She loved to sit at the piano with me while I played her favorite songs. For me, there are so many Christmas carols that I feel share the Christmas story in a special way. I love to hear and sing them throughout the season.

3. Deaton Santa Cookies – for years, my Mom made these fancy and special Santa cookies. Each cookie is decorated with piped frosting, which makes them taste wonderful. They are beautiful and look special … but they do require more time to make. My sister Debbie and I still make these cookies every Christmas. It’s a tradition that we desperately want to continue. I gave a box to my friend Pam last weekend. (She requires her own box of Santa cookies every year.) She made my day when she sent a message saying this year’s version where “the best ever.”

2. Deaton Gift Exchange – several years ago, we began a tradition with my family. We don’t purchase gifts other than the youngest generation. Instead, I wrap up items from my parents and grandparents and share a story about these items. It’s become a fun way to share stories and family history. It’s also a way that we honor our loved ones. This past weekend was the Deaton Christmas. I had prepared the gifts for the exchange. I’m always amazed at what becomes the “prized item” from the exchange. Yes, there’s always a little exchanging afterwards, which is just fine. It’s become a huge part of our family Christmas and one that it appears is not going away anytime soon.

  1. Christmas Eve Worship – for me, this is THE most important tradition of Christmas. Growing up, we attended 8 PM worship. It was a different worship service, with no message. The story was simply told through song and scripture. The service always ended with lighting candles and singing “Silent Night.” Having lead Christmas Eve worship services for nearly 20 years, I love putting together a worship service that tells the story in a unique and interesting way. For many years, I wrote a service that allowed Rick and I to conduct the service together. Yes, there would tons of Christmas music. And the service ALWAYS ends with “Silent Night” and lighting candles. I can’t imagine Christmas without Christmas Eve worship. It just would not be Christmas.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions? Or things that make the holiday special? Please honor these traditions and ways that make your holiday special. It’s also how we pass down stories and traditions from generation to generation.

For Christmas traditions that remind us of the birth of Christ, I am grateful.

Dear God – thank you for all the many ways we remember the Christmas story. As we celebrate our various Christmas traditions, I pray we keep in mind the baby who is born and why he came to earth. Amen.  

Blessings –


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