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Merry Christmas!

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Christmas time is filled with family traditions. We loaded up and went to a local tree farm to cut our own evergreen for the season, ready to be decorated! OK, that’s not true; I sat down and ordered one on Black Friday, pre-lit, to be shipped for free.

Once our towering pine was placed, we began the task of placing our heirloom, hand crafted family ornaments on the tree. OK, that’s not true. We do have some ornaments that might be considered vintage and handcrafted if we count the popsicle stick sled that Matt Roberts made and gave to son, Caleb, in the second grade. Or the wad of pacifiers that dangle from a limb. That same boy wouldn’t take any binky I offered although I bought every brand. What to do with all those rejects? I was determined not to waste them and declared I would hang them on the Christmas tree. And they have been there every year for going on thirty years… including the mousetrap. Wait… what?

Now this goes back even farther. It started the year I tried my hand at stringing popcorn only to have it eaten Pac-Man style off the tree. Little nephew, Justin, now almost forty years old, asked me “Aunt Patti, why is there a mouse in your Christmas tree?” Good question. So I added a mousetrap and caught two of those vermin. Nothing says Christmas like a dead rodent tangled with the tinsel.

Then our clan begins the treasured task of shopping for our beloved family. OK, that’s not true either. There is probably only about two in our tribe that actually enjoy shopping. We cut that job out years ago. My mother insisted on us having a present to unwrap, so we all buy our own gift and then we randomly choose one to open and guess who bought it for themselves. It’s rather hilarious and everyone loves their present. Zero returns. Right now some of you are gasping in horror, but there are others thinking, dang, that’s a good idea.

Then there is the family tradition of cooking, and baking and candy making. Those sacred recipes passed from generation to generation, coveted and anticipated every holiday. Yeah, that’s not true either. Don’t get me wrong, our clan does have some good cooks. But as families grow and split and add to, just finding a time to be under the same roof at the same time is an accomplishment with or without homemade noodles. Our bunch has been all over the board, or I should say, table, with foodstuffs. We’ve gobbled Mexican, breakfast and fried chicken. Christmas still happened.

But there is one family tradition that is constant: As believers, we choose to remember the season as the celebration of our Savior’s birth. This is true. Whether we have trees or turkey, we have the tradition of attending church together, of taking the time to hear about the baby born in Bethlehem.

May all your family’s traditions be fun, and memorable but more importantly, let them come home to the truth.