Christmas: My Family Traditions



My first Christmas

Alysa Kennedy, Editor

Christmas is a Christian holiday that is celebrated by so many, Christians and non-Christians, all around the world. Nearly everyone at least knows of the holiday whether they celebrate it or not. While those who don’t celebrate may not know what it’s all about, they aren’t alone. Even some that do celebrate either don’t know why, or forget the reason we celebrate Christmas. With Christmas being such an incredibly busy time for a lot of people, sometimes we don’t stop and think about the real reason for it all. 

What is Christmas and why do we celebrate it?

The story of Christmas and Jesus’s birth is laid out for us in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament. The Bible explains, at Christmas God brought his Son to the earth in the form of Jesus. Jesus was sent to the earth as a savior. Luke 2:10-11 says “but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!’” Since tradition holds that Jesus was born at night, Mass and church services are held on Christmas Eve to honor His birth. While Christmas was traditionally a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus, in today’s world it has been converted into more of a family holiday now observed by Christians and non-Christians alike. 

What Christmas traditions do we celebrate with now?

Christmas is celebrated so differently by each family. While technically only two days are dedicated to the actual holiday, in most places Christmas is celebrated for a whole season. The Christmas season is full of excitement, giving, good deeds, and time spent with family. Some of the most popular Christmas traditions include exchanging gifts, decorating the Christmas tree, and writing letters to Santa. Looking at Christmas lights, watching Christmas movies, decorating Christmas cookies, and drinking hot cocoa are traditions that last all season long.

My family’s Christmas traditions

The Christmas traditions in my family have been mostly the same for as long as I can remember. Growing up, Christmas Eve at my grandparents and Christmas day at my Great grandparents were always my favorite parts of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, my family has a smaller get together with my grandparents. We open gifts and eat dinner together, afterwards we go to a Christmas Eve service at our church. When us kids were younger we would have to go home after church so that we could get to bed before Santa came. My mom tells me “I wish you guys were still that young.” Now that we’re older, we go back to my grandparents and talk and laugh and spend time together. This has always been my favorite tradition. On Christmas morning my own family exchanges gifts. This is when my brother, Wyatt, and I exchange our gifts with each other. Like most siblings do, we like to give each other a hard time and pull little pranks. Every year Wyatt and I try to see who can come up with the most clever way to wrap and give each other gifts. Wyatt claims “I like terrorizing my sister by wrapping unwrappable presents.” Of course I have never won this challenge. We then go to my great grandparents’ house for lunch. This is the largest family get together we have for Christmas. We eat all the delicious foods and play games while we’re there. 

While these Christmas traditions are so special to me, there are some that I really don’t think about and are easily overlooked. When I take a deeper look, my favorite Christmas traditions aren’t what I had always thought they were. My favorite traditions are my cousin Zoey and I helping my Grandma prepare Christmas dinner and cook desserts the night before Christmas Eve. It’s trying to hide our uncontrollable giggles about something someone in our family did at the Christmas Eve service. It’s my brother and I’s way of exchanging gifts. It’s remembering back to when my Mimi was still here and would stay overnight with us to watch my brother and I open gifts on Christmas morning. It’s laughing till tears fall, being surrounded by family, and remembering the real reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place. As my Grandma Cindy says, “Christmas is a time for family, joy, and love.” These are truly my favorite Christmas traditions.