Keeping Traditions, Making Traditions

by Maggie Griffin

Traditions are such a wonderful part of being a family. Now that Byron and I are our own little family, we have been discussing which holiday traditions from each person's family we want to continue and brainstorming different things we want to include in our holidays from now on. 

When I was little, I would have a gingerbread house party with a few of my good friends and all our siblings. Byron and I discussed throwing a gingerbread house party this year and decided against it, but perhaps in the future we will host that extravaganza! I would love  an excuse to buy that striped zebra gum...

My family had a new-ornament-per-year tradition. During the holiday shopping times, my sisters and I would look for the most perfect ornament that would be ours that year. Some years they work the same (the year of the bouncing penguins), and some years  we would range from the classic Christmas pickle to a homemade snowman made of a sock. This is definitely a tradition I wanted for Byron and I. We both brought our childhood ornaments from home and now each year we will add one more! (Pictures at bottom of post.)

For the past 10 years or so my immediate family has drawn names and participated in a secret homemade gift exchange...we have adopted the name "make-a-person," the abbreviated form of "make-a-handmade-gift-for-a-secret-person." This year, Byron gets to participate! I am so excited to have better chances of  not getting the same person ever year! 

Growing up, I had the special job of making a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" sign that adorned one of our Christmas desserts. I loved creating something new each year...when Byron and I host Christmases at our home someday, I hope to continue creating these signs for our desserts.

Recently, on Christmas morning, we have added the traditional breakfast of coffee cake & mini pigs in a blanket with mimosas! We take it really easy in the morning and don't exchange gifts until much later in the day...

Byron on the other hand said his one tradition year after year was waking up early and collectively tearing into gifts with his family! He absolutely loves it. So this year, rather than taking our gifts up to Dallas, we will have a early morning celebration between the two of us at home before heading up to our families, where Byron can, if he chooses, tear into all of his gifts!

Both of our families go to Christmas Eve Services the night before to focus on the joy and hope that was brought into the world through the birth of Jesus. To help prepare us for that night and Christmas day, Byron and I have been using an advent calendar, a new tradition we shall continue. 

I adore the holiday season. I love the friendliness and the love that is all around and the merry greetings and happy wishes; I love the weather; I love the decorations; I love giving gifts! I love that each year, my hope is renewed and I begin the year focused on a little baby in a manger who saved the world. 

Oh man, is this not the world's cutest ornament? A little hiking mouse! Absolutely perfect for Byron! 

I have an irrational and expensive love of Starbucks. I chose this ornament for several reasons...1. I have probably spent more $ this year than any other at Starbucks. 2. My favorite color this year was gold. 3. I got to decorate this ornament--a little nod to my blossoming illustration/calligraphy career. 4. On our honeymoon, we visited the first ever Starbucks!  

All our traditions, old and new, make this time of year so special. What are your favorite traditions? Why do you love Christmas?