December 20, 2014 by taralynnehall
I love every part of Christmas. I love the decorations, the music, the cheesy movies, the presents, the lights…and the list goes on. More than anything, I love sharing all of these things with my family and friends. We have many traditions, but here are a few of my absolute favorites:
The Christmas Tree
Every Christmas since I was in 3rd or 4th grade, my family has trekked out to a tree farm to pick out and cut down our very own Christmas tree. Due to my dad’s work schedule, we usually go after dark. We turn off the radio for an evening and sing Christmas carols a cappella all the way there. Armed with flashlights and a saw, we follow my mom around for as long as it takes for her to find the “perfect” tree–which usually has some terrible flaw once we get it home. This year, we managed to get out to the farm while it was still daylight! (It is also worth noting that this is the first year the tree has ever fallen over.)
My husband prefers artificial Christmas trees (and I’m afraid the cat would be even more interested in a real tree), so we don’t cut one down for ourselves, but I am grateful to be able to accompany my parents and siblings to get theirs.
The Gingerbread House
This tradition changes shape a little every year, but it always happens. Last year, it was a competition, with my sister and I on one side, and my brothers on the other. We ended up joining forces to build one massive structure–a lighthouse made of graham crackers and icing.
This year, my mom bought a pre-built house, so we had to be a bit more clever with the decorations. We added a pond next to the house; similar to the one on my parents’ land. I always look forward to getting a little creative (and a lot messy) with my siblings.
My mom has always made a lot of treats when it gets close to Christmas. Tree bark, peppermint pretzel sticks, chocolate-covered cashews, iced sugar cookies, pumpkin roll, and so many more goodies. I love the smell of cookies in the oven!
Husband does not appreciate the cheesy Christmas movies as much as I do, but there are a few that we watch every year. The top of the list is Die Hard (which is not so much a Christmas movie to me, but he insists it is). I love Elf and generally force him into watching it with me. I also like to watch the old claymation Christmas movies in the background while I bake or wrap presents.
When I was little, my mom would take my sister and I to see the Nutcracker ballet every Christmas. We don’t get around to it every year now that we’re older, but we certainly try. And I enjoy it just as much every time. (We did drag the men along with us one year…we won’t do that again.)
Husband and I like to drive around the city and try to find neighborhoods with lots of lights. We turn on Christmas music and chat about the future and Christmas and all sorts of things, and just spend a peaceful evening driving slowly around quiet neighborhoods and staring at random houses. Like creepers.
This is my favorite part. I am a pretty big fan of receiving presents, but more than that I love guessing presents. My poor mom has bent over backwards for years trying to disguise presents in large or oddly shaped boxes, adding bags of candy or marbles inside to create false rattling, labeling them with secret codes or not at all…my siblings and I are just too good.
More than any of that though, I absolute LOVE giving Christmas presents. I love trying to figure out the perfect gift for someone, and picking the perfect wrapping paper, and watching them open it. I love it when I get it right, and I can see their face light up because it’s an awesome present. That, to me, is the best part of Christmas. What better way to celebrate God giving us his only Son, than to share gifts with the people we love?