By Matt Henslee
In addition to celebrating the birth of Christ, many of our readers likely enjoy a variety of Christmas traditions. Perhaps some of you are new to the whole parenting thing and are deciding what kind of traditions you’ll carry on or start for your family. Maybe you’re a little older now and enjoy reminiscing on the years that have passed.
I asked a few friends to share their favorite traditions around the Christmas season. Here are ten of them:
1. “Slaughtering a glorious pine and placing in the home until it’s a fire hazard.” I think we found the pyro.
2. “We’ve been ordering a personalized ornament from Calliope Designs since the second year of our marriage. The first one we got was cute because it had a pregnant penguin and a male penguin, so we got it to celebrate our upcoming baby. Since then, we’re now up to a penguin group of five.” I like this a lot.
3. “The airing of grievances.” I thought that was called a deacon meeting. I’m kidding! I had a little fun with this one here.
4. “Putting out milk and cookies for me to eat later.” Works unless you have one of my daughters who thinks we should leave out carrots and celery. If I had my druthers, I’d leave out waffles and eggnog.
5. “My wife and I go to the Alabama Theatre (a historic theatre in downtown Birmingham) and watch It’s a Wonderful Life.” This will be hard for us to replicate in our town of 60. We’ll settle for our annual Black Friday viewing of Elf.
6. “We let our kids open one gift on Christmas eve. It’s always pajamas. After they put them on, they gather around, and I read the Christmas account from Luke. Then it’s off to bed for them, and quiet and coffee for wifey and me.” Are we twins?! We do the same thing, minus the quietness and coffee. We’re usually tip-toeing around, trying to remember where we hid all the presents.
7. “Christmas Eve and takeout Chinese.” We opt for tacos after our Christmas Eve service and it’s glorious.
8. “Watching the A Christmas Story marathon.” Beats the Hallmark Channel, I guess.
9. “Telling small children Santa doesn’t exist. Their parents love it. Great fun. Much recommended.” Speaking of #3 (Airing of Grievances), may I add this guy?
10. “Traveling…” This began many of the replies, and it’s one of our traditions as well. Since I preach on Christmas Eve and have young kids, we don’t usually make the nine-hour trek to see family until the 26th. With an ailing father, I treasure every second with him and aim to make the most of it.
And here is where I’m supposed to say something along the lines of “remembering the reason for the season,” but I’m pretty sure you get that.
I do want to take this opportunity to stress the importance of hitting the pause button, sitting back, and simply enjoying all the moments with your precious family.
MATT HENSLEE (@mhenslee) is managing editor of Lifeway Pastors, pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, New Mexico, husband of Rebecca, and father of four beautiful princesses. You can also connect with him on Facebook and hear his podcast at Not Another Baptist Podcast.