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Children's Christmas Traditions

Nov 17, 2007
"Santa Claus is coming to Town" is one the main Christmas songs that most children know. My children are no different. That song always made them remember to be on their best behavior or else Santa might just pass by their house on Christmas Eve. There are many ways to convince children to settle down and behave, but none quite as convincing as hearing part of a song, "He knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake".

My children are like most when it comes to dreaming and wishing for the big day and all the magic that Christmas brings. They want to decorate the house with lights and figurines, and each one always had their favorites. The first thing that my son wanted to display was the Nativity scene that he had made at school when he was 7 years old. His teacher at church had given 20 Popsicle sticks to each child, but 5 had been cut in half. His class glued the sticks together in the shape of a house, with the cut sticks being the sides. It was made much like Lincoln logs were designed, and a small Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus glued on the bottom sticks. It made a pretty centerpiece on the television with a few red candle votives on each side.

Our family had started collecting small ceramic houses. A new one was added for each child. One wanted the toy store, another one wanted a church, and the last one wanted a big Victorian manner house. Putting up the miniature village was our oldest daughter's choice as the second Christmas decoration to be displayed. We always had it on a quilted red cloth and it was beautiful with all the little indoor lights in the miniatures turned on at night.

The next decoration to put up was the Christmas candles in the windows, with an animated Santa and Mrs. Claus. A new tradition that started with our youngest son by adding lighted wreaths in each window. Of course, my favorite decoration was a large door wreath with a gold angel in the middle and gold leaves and berries around the outside.

Our greatest family tradition was going to their aunt and uncle's for dinner and gift exchange. As they grew up, they became part of the planning and carrying out the details of entertainment. One of the kids would play Christmas carols and they would lead the adults with their singing. Another cousin would check online to see exactly where Santa was showing up on the radar and which way he was heading. The younger children would get so excited hearing those details.

Opening presents, after sharing a Christmas Eve feast with family, was the ultimate end to our family get together. The children always delighted in receiving a personalized ornament and something unique for their talents or interests. By the time we were finished opening gifts, the radar showed Santa was getting close, which meant it was time to go home and get ready for bed.

The final tradition we followed on Christmas Eve was reading the "Night before Christmas". The children would get into their pajamas and go to bed, waiting to hear the sound of reindeers on the roof. They would get so excited when they heard the jingle bells ring outside. That always was their clue to shut their eyes and begin to dream of what was to come. Traditions are wonderful because they let children know what to expect. Our children now have their own families and traditions, but many that they grew up are still alive today in their homes. Angels, lights, family and Santa are part of the traditions that many families celebrate and are what makes the holidays so much fun.
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