Today’s guest post if from Audrey at Brizmus Blogs Books. She’s going to be telling us a little about her Christmas traditions!
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love absolutely everything about it. I love the crisp feeeling of cold in the air, I love the smells, the colors, the decorations, and the spirit of giving. I love how it marks the beginning of winter, and love feeling giddy and excited about it, watching Christmas movies everyday, for months ahead of time. All of these things make Christmas special for me, but what, in the end, makes Christmas more special to me than any of the other holidays, is my family Christmas traditions. Really, what would Christmas be without traditions? I’m here with you today to share my favorite Christmas Eve traditions!
It all starts with the greatest tradition of all, luminaries. Every year, on Christmas Eve, my sister, my brother, my Dad, the dogs, and I grab the wheelbarrow and head out to the woods in front of my dad’s house to fill it up with a big mound of dirt. When the sun starts to set, we head up to the top of our driveway with the wheelbarrow full of dirt, along with at least 50 paper bags and candles. Along with the rest of the neighborhood, we line our luminaries along the road. We fill each paper bag with a small scoopful of dirt, so it doesn’t fall over, and then wedge a candle firmly into the dirt. When all the paper bags are lining the road, up to the neighbor’s luminaries, we go back and light the candles. Since the entire neighborhood participates, when darkness comes and we drive through the neighborhood with the car lights turned off, it proves to be an awe-inspiring sight, and I will never get over the thrill of seeing all the roads shining brightly from the little candle filled paper bags. There is no way Santa will be getting lost in our neighborhood!
When the luminaries are all set out and ready, we get dressed and head over to the church where my mom will be playing her flute. I have never been a religious person, but there is something about church on Christmas Eve that just seems so peaceful and magical and necessary. It’s also where we meet up with the extended family to head over to my Great Aunt Bettie’s house for her annual Christmas Eve party. Her house is always magnificently decorated with garland and wreaths and lights and a beautiful Christmas tree, and it is always full of family. My Great Aunt Bettie has had this party 26 of my 27 years of life, and I’m hoping she will continue having it for many, many more.
She has a wonderful gift for us every year, and after taking a family picture under the Christmas tree, we open it before we leave. This is our first gift of Christmas. Our second gift of Christmas is the Christmas pajamas our Mom will inevitably give us when we get home. Kristen and I wear them with t-shirt sized Santa Clause night gowns we got got when I was 4 and she was 6. The four of us, my sister, brothers, and I, then all climb up into a big bed and watch “the Magic Snowman,” aka the best Christmas movie ever, before attempting to go to sleep. Attempting to go to sleep usually turns into whispering excitedly about Christmas until 4:00 in the morning or so and then, 6ish, , we just can’t take it any more, and Kristen and I jump up and exchange our own presents. Yes, we still do this, even though she is 29, and I am 27. We then wake up our brothers and give them our presents from us. Even now, at 21 and 25, they are both just as excited about Christmas as Kristen and I are.
I would go on, but this is starting to get into Christmas morning traditions, and that will be for another post in another place at another time. It’s because of these things, which might seem small, that Christmas is so important to me. They are what make Christmas. They are what mean that, no matter where I am in the world, I will always find myself in Louisiana for Christmas. What about you? Do you have any exciting Christmas or Christmas Eve (or Hannukah or whatever else) traditions that make the holiday for you?
Thanks Audrey! And I look forward to hearing about everyone’s traditions!