Every year around Christmas, my extended family gathers together from near and far to spend a wonderful few days together. I am blessed to have a mother who is responsible for this. I am blessed to even have a smidgen of her creativity. She has birthed a few wonderful traditions, unique in their own way, that I hope to pass on to my children and grandchildren.
I would like to share some of these with you. Maybe you can start a similar tradition of your own!
We used to gather at my parents large house with acreage. Because of their age and the tremendous upkeep, they moved into a condominium. They now provide hotel rooms for us, and invite us all over to their house in the evenings.
Usually, on the first evening, we share the Nativity Story. My mother decided to make this a little different and more special by picking one grandchild (from oldest to youngest) to share the Christmas story. That child and his or her parents could choose how they wanted to share it. Some would bring in felt Bible characters and talk through the story using these as illustrations. Others would draw their own props, while the older ones would read a good storybook on Jesus’ birth, or read straight from the Bible.
It is a good way to refocus, little minds especially, on the true meaning of Christmas.
Once the Christmas story is shared, we then have a special tribute to any of the grandchildren that turned 13 that year. Now, this doesn’t happen every year, but as large as our extended family is, it happens quite a bit!
The 13 year old is put on the spotlight for moving into manhood or womanhood. My parents always give them a more expensive and memorable gift for that year. Then, others are encouraged to share any stories or blessings that they have written down, to uplift the young man or lady. Obviously, I like to add a little humor as seen below!
What a wonderful way to encourage young people into adulthood!
Throughout the year, my mother will buy certain items that she thinks the sisters and older granddaughters would like. All of these gifts get thrown into what is called the Goodie Bag. She will pick a time and hotel room to lay out all of these “goodies”, and then her daughters and granddaughters ages 13 and above take turns picking out an item.
Sometimes we will draw numbers to see who picks first, sometimes she will decide for us who goes first.
I usually get a beautiful skirt or two and some other wonderful goodies. It differs every year! But I always look forward to seeing what she has for that year! Another wonderful and creative idea that I will pass on to my daughters and granddaughters!
Mom has always made it a special time when we all get together. She loves us and our children dearly and wants so much for our gatherings to be memorable ones! We always look forward to this time!