Traditions? Even in a "make-shift" Christmas there are a few :)

This year our Christmas will look a little different - but that's okay.  As a family, we generally have to "restructure" Christmas due to the following:  Dad the pilot (sometimes he is flying on the 24th and sees Santa on radar), my retail job (unlike everyone else, I get about 36 hours off for celebrating), and the fact that there are 4 members of my family and we cover 3 states.  As little kids, I can remember how devastated we were when our Christmas celebrations didn't match everyone else's.  The first time my Dad had to fly on Christmas Day, my parents sat us down on the couch to break the news, and you would have thought someone died.  I think we cried and asked why?? for about 3 hours.  I think I was about 10 then, and in the last 18 years I've grown to love our re-arranged Ward Christmases. One year we took a picnic dinner to SLC airport and ate in the terminal with my Dad as he was passing through.  Last year we moved everything up an celebrated on the 15th, and this year we've chosen January 24th in Phoenix with Matt and Amber - one month later.  We get pretty creative.   Even though the date on the calendar may be wrong, I get the same warm and fuzzy Christmas feelings every year due to our traditions.  Here are a few of my favorites :)

1.  My Mom was able to come to Seattle for Christmas day this year, and we continued a tradition that has been on-going for 20 years.  Every year since I was 8,  the 2 of us have gone to see the "Nutcracker" ballet.   I always know Christmas is near when Mom and I get dressed up to go and see the amazing story of Clara, her prince - the Nutcracker, and the scary Mouse King.  This tradition didn't stop when I moved to Seattle - she now comes here and we go to the production in Washington instead of in Utah.  A few times we've mixed it up - invited friends, watched people we knew in a production, and one year even made Matt and Dad come (yikes!), but it is a tradition I know will stick around for a long time.  We were laughing this matter how hard we try, if we hear music from the ballet but aren't watching the dancers, we can't remember which portion of the production it is from!  You'd think after 20 times...

christmas story Pictures, Images and Photos

2.    Every "Christmas Eve" (real or fake) we watch "A Christmas Story."  This the best movie of all time.  It deserves a major award.  Nothing is more fun that eating yummy Christmas food, wearing cozy new pajamas, and watching Ralphie try to convince his parents that he needs an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200 shot range model air riffle!  My Mom always prepares the best assortment of finger foods (sausages, fudge, cheeses, crackers, cookies, etc.) so as we watch the movie marathon on TBS, we can graze back through the kitchen during commercial breaks.  My favorite part is after the fight when the little brother crys, "Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie!" from under the kitchen sink, but I also love listening to my Dad crack up during the "pink nightmare" scene. And of course, you can count on all of us to sing along at the end, "fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra."  Love it. Don't worry - this year the movie is making the trek with us to Arizona on DVD!  Long live tradition!

Silent night Pictures, Images and Photos

3.  Christmas Eve is my most favorite church service of the whole year.  It is so special to celebrate the true reason for the Christmas season, after all the hustle and bustle is over.  Something about "Silent Night" by candlelight, and the story of Jesus' birth being told to a crowd at the same moment that He came to the world 2008 years ago gives me goosebumps.  I often times find myself in tears of gratitude for my life, all the blessings He has given me, and the family and friends that surround me on that night.  The greatest gift of all is our Savior, and it feels so amazing to celebrate that gift before opening any others.  I absolutely cherish the time to stop and thank God for his Son.  Side note:  Even more impressive, this year I learned that Mary and Joseph traveled 92 miles to the stable in Bethlehem. 92 miles??  I've never been 9 months pregnant, but I'm sure when I am I won't want to walk 92 feet.  Oh, and how cool!!!  I have been listening to my iTunes library while blogging today - on shuffle - and "Silent Night" just came on!

I hope you all had amazing Christmas celebrations full of fun and festivities.  Thanks to all of you for your friendship and for a great 2008.  I am so grateful for all the friends and family in my life. Oh, and if you love Christmas and traditions like I do - I am totally leaving all my decorations up until my Christmas season is over on January 25th - come on over!


Heather Ling said...

What a fun blog!! Your Christmas traditions all sound so warm and fuzzy. :)

I'm so jealous... I have never even seen the Nutcracker ONCE! I've always wanted to, but I just forget, I guess. Boo.

So, your Christmas gift finally came! You should make a visit to the good 'ol 1708 soon, only because I'm afraid of driving to Bellevue this crazy time of year.

Debbie said...

It moves me to know that you appreciate the real meaning of Christmas and celebrate that as most important in your traditions.

It's also nice to know that you and Matt feel our celebrations are "normal" and that you cherish them. As a parent, you always wonder if you're children are missing something when their life is different from others.