Monday, December 23, 2013

Traditions {a recollection}

My favorite holiday memories are deeply rooted in our family traditions. I remember walking into my grandparents’ house in Jonesboro for Christmas and feeling like I had stepped into what I imagined the North Pole must be like. Garlands of gingerbread men hung along the doorframes, each individually wrapped in cellophane and ribbon so that opening one felt like a present in itself. Those tasty, carefully and lovingly created gifts of gingerbread goodness were one of the highlights of my childhood. I looked forward to them each year and they are part of many wonderful memories.

Christmas at the beach in North Carolina!

As our family moved from state to state, sometimes far from our extended families, we tried on traditions. When I was 8, we traveled to North Carolina from our home state of Texas to be with my father who had moved ahead of us for a new post. Intent on making it a memorable Christmas, my parents created a scavenger hunt that sent us joyfully around the apartment following clues that led us to our gifts. We followed that up with a trip to the beach! Other years included counting down with purpose using the advent calendar and an unforgettable Christmas pageant featuring live animals.

One tradition that stuck, although it presented itself in many forms over the years, was a tradition of serving others as a family during this time of year. Whether we went caroling at the hospital, visited the elderly at the nursing home, or served Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter, we took the time to shower love on those whose spirits needed brightening.

This year, as a new parent, I have been especially thoughtful of holiday traditions and the memories I want to create for my own son. I hope to instill in him the same sense of service and love for others that my parents ingrained in me by their example.

I’d love to hear some of your family traditions as well. Just know that I might just adopt them as my own!


  1. I will never forget the smell of gingerbread at Grandma's either. I wish I could have my own holiday party with the Woods finally. But everyone lives so far away!

  2. Following your blog now....and I was scrolling through your old posts and thought I'd comment. :) I love the service ideas!! I would love to do that with Wyatt as he grows older!

    One tradition that I would love to start is one I got from Pinterest. lol You get a white tablecloth for Thanksgiving and each year whoever is with you writes on it what they are thankful for!
    -Bonnie (from JFTM :) )