Christmas Traditions

I love Christmas for a lot of reasons, but some of my favorite parts are the traditions. In my home, they just make Christmas what it is. We always wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start the decorating. And we always decorate with music, Manheim and Steamroller mostly. Then the music just stays on all month. Throughout the month it's the normal shopping and baking that most families do, but 10 days before Christmas we begin our yearly ding-dong-ditch. Every year we pick one family who we secretly give a Christmas nativity set to and we do it in a series of nine days, one day for every letter of the word 'Christmas'. Each letter has a little poem that explains the gift. My favorite has, and always will be 'R'. This is why: "R's Rambunctious donkey, with Mary on his back. While carrying his burden, Never did he slack." Cute, huh? We had to get a little creative with our poetry, but it works. Because I like it so much, I get to deliver the donkey every year. We also have an advent calendar with 25 pieces that we put up every day of December until Christmas and I get to do the donkey on that one to. I don't know when this donkey-connection was actually established, and who it was established by, but I'll just say it's a good thing I like donkeys. Another favorite tradition of mine is driving around to look at the lights on Christmas Eve. Even though we see them throughout the month, it's a different feeling when we go deliberately to look at them and I love it. We have another tradition that my family probably isn't even aware of. It is that of Christmas stockings and what happens to the contents of those stockings. Every year, Santa fills our stockings with a real orange, a chocolate orange, and almonds, cashews, pecans, and other nuts still in the shells. Everyone takes their oranges, but the nuts go in a big bowl, all together. Everyone's chocolate orange is usually gone first, because it's chocolate, then the regular orange, because it's easier to eat than the nuts which have to be cracked open. Then we always realize after our oranges are gone, that Santa (e-hem, Dad) has been eating all of the almonds and walnuts and pecans that were in our stocking. It happens every year and it's just as funny to me every year. (I'm being smart this year and made Ben hide my chocolate orange so I wouldn't miss out on the almonds.) One last tradition we have isn't official, but has been happening throughout the years. Each year we think of a gift we'll give to Christ. Some years we'll write it in a letter, or sometimes we'll just make a mental note, but it seems that in one way or another, it's become a tradition. And that is really what the season is about.

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