"because of tradition, we've kept our balance for many, many years!"
i adore this time of year. dan and i have been decking the halls since late october (don't judge!), and were so excited when my uncle brought us a beautiful, pre-lit christmas tree!
we have been praying through and plotting new traditions we want to start as a family, for this time of year.
one that i started with my sisters probably a few years back, was having an annual december holiday meal together. we had such a time together this past saturday. we even let our nieces, ruby and issy, open a present. here are a few pics!
(note: i have hardly any pics of amy and palo, but they were there too!)
mary and jason chowing away. we made a big pot of hopkins county stew (YUM!).
monkey presents for ruby and issy!
the girlies. we gave them lip smackers chap stick and new purses. they immediatley put them on and 'went to the store for turkey milk and ice cream.' ha ha.
the rubes and her juice box.
issy trying out her new pink lemonade flavoured chap stick.
we had a blast, as always!
other things dan and i are doing this year:
1. celebrating st. nicholas day. we want to tell the story of st. nicholas to our children, rather than doing santa claus with them. st nicholas day falls on december 6th, and this year, we plan on having a special breakfast together. in the future, when we have kids, we will exchange christmas stockings and tell the story of st. nicholas. we want to incorporate some kind of giving with this day as well. we have friends that bake and deliver cookies to their neighbors on this day--that's a good idea! (especially when you are their neighbor!)
2. celebrating advent. this is a christian tradition that anticipates the coming of baby Jesus. it begins somewhere around the four sundays prior to christmas, with a traditional, 'hanging of the greens' or putting up greenery around the house. eastern orthodox uses the color blue in it's liturgical robes and decorum throughout this season, with the exception of the third week. the third sunday is referred to as, 'rose sunday' (or refreshment sunday), and everything is then replaced with a rose color (fun fact: rose sunday also happens during lent!). in western christianity, purple has been incorporated instead of blue. if you take a quick look around our house, it's not hard to figure out that we chose blue!
each week we do an advent reading of scripture from the bible, and light the advent wreath. the wreath is made up of five candles. three blue (or purple), one rose colored candle, and a big white candle that sits in the center of the wreath. this white candle, or the christ candle, is lit on christmas eve. the other four are lit, one each sunday of advent, according to what week it is (the rose candle is always lit the third week). each week represents something different: hope, love, joy and peace. the readings of scripture that coincide with advent, are beautiful, meaningful and central to our faith. as a child, i did this with my parents and then my sister or i would play a christmas song on the piano...maybe some day i will have my piano here!
3. special bananas. a few months back we had some friends over who made this thai inspired dessert using coconut milk, bananas, vanilla, and a little bit of sugar, salt and cinnamon. it tasted like christmas and we have therefore decided that these 'special bananas' will be our christmas-time dessert! we made it at our stew dinner and it was a big hit!
4. other holiday meals! in addition to the big din with our family, we also linked up with another family in our community that we are going to begin a tradition with. just a simple meal together and exchanging a small or home made gift. i am so excited to get together with them this year!
there also might be some rodriguez family matching pajamas involved somewhere in here, but i'll let the pictures speak for themselves at a later date. ;)
ok, tell me what you like to do with your family!
thanks for reading!