Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

Old and new traditions bring Christmas cheer December 17, 2015

Filed under: Life Lessons — Heather @ 3:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Hallgirls_Xmas1980

I love the Christmas season, filled with glowing lights, festive music, gatherings with family and friends, the spirit of the season and more. I’ve written about holiday traditions of the past so thought I would weave a little of the past and update for the present in today’s post.

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This time of year always makes me nostalgic for my childhood. I remember holidays filled with many people throughout my parents’ house. Both sides of the family laughed, ate together and shared gifts. I recall driving home from my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve, staring out of the car window with my sisters as we searched for Rudolph’s red nose in the night sky. Then there are the memories of wandering tree lots for the perfect Christmas tree, baking and decorating cookies with my mom, making angels in the snow, lying in bed as I wondered what Santa would bring that year.

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Perhaps I think more of those days long ago since my dad and grandparents are gone. I miss them all daily and cherish any memories I can hold onto. While I remember the happy memories of my younger years, I also embrace every moment, vacation, holiday and laughs here in the present. My mom continues to host Christmas day dinner. We play games, eat (too much) delicious food, exchange gifts and enjoy our time with people who we love.

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So traditions and fun times continue to make new memories. I know I won’t ever forget my childhood, and certainly not those who I loved dearly and are no longer here. But I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to feel loved, to laugh often and celebrate new and continued traditions with friends and family. Here are just a few of my favorite holiday festivities.

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Name ornament – A tradition that began a few years before Dad passed away, every member of my family, including the pets, has a ball ornament with their name in glitter. I love adding new names and watching our family grow! I admit it’s a lot of nostalgia to hang ornaments of those who aren’t with us.

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Baking cookies – My mom provided any Christmas shape cookie cutter one might imagine. I still remember my dad telling me on Christmas day to “keep passing the cookies” because we had so many. We continue this baking tradition with my nieces and nephew, and I also decorate cookies with my best friend and her young daughters. I love being part of their lives and tradition too!

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Drawing names for presents – The adults in my immediate family draw names. We set a price limit and can’t tell anyone whose name we drew. On Christmas day, we have to guess who drew our name. If you get it wrong, you’re at the end of the line! We have a lot of fun with this. My niece says ‘it’s hilarious’ to watch us guess and be silly (glad we can help create her favorite memories!).

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“White Christmas” the movie – The tradition only occurred for a few years but it’s a special one to me. My dad, grandma and I would watch the movie, White Christmas, on Christmas eve. It continues to be one of my favorite holiday movies.

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Christmas dinners and ornament exchanges – I’m blessed to have many great friends who cherish this tradition as much as I do. I honestly welcome any opportunity to get together with friends, during the holidays and throughout the year. I love these moments of laughter and fun with people who bring much support, love and friendship to my life. I also love that my tree is filled with ornaments from special people in my life.

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This Christmas season, I’m most excited about a very special gift – my oldest niece will be returning home this weekend after five months away for National Guard basic training. My family is very tight knit so this is the longest we’ve ever gone without seeing or talking regularly to each other, especially one of the kids. While I’m very proud of her sacrifice and commitment to protecting our country and our citizens, I can’t wait to welcome her home with a huge hug and kiss!

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What are some of your favorite new or old holiday traditions? Whatever you do and whatever you celebrate, I wish a happy and healthy holiday season!

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