Our Christmas Tradition

Alivia Beabout , Writer

 

It’s a beautiful Christmas morning. It’s snowing outside. As you walk into your living room and see all of the presents just for you, your heart flutters with joy. But why do we have presents on Christmas? Why is it the season for gift giving? Why do we celebrate Christmas? Why do we get together with family? All these “why’s” but sometimes we don’t know all the answers, but I am here to tell you all about them. Christmas is a beautiful time that we all get together and sometimes exchange gifts. This can be stressful and exhausting for some but for most, it is quite literally the most wonderful time of the year. 

So why do we exchange gifts and spend all of that money on silly things that may only last a few years just to turn around and buy more expensive gifts? It’s kind of a vicious cycle, so why do it? Well if you do some research they say that gifts on Christmas symbolize the tributes made to baby Jesus by the three Wise Men after his birthday. These wise men are the same ones people frequently show in their “Nativity Scene,” a scene some people lay out in their front yards as decoration or have, for lack of better words, action figures to make this scene. For me and my family, growing up in a religious household, gift giving isn’t just about opening presents on Christmas; it really is about honoring Jesus and also honoring my family and appreciating these gifts that they spend time and effort to get specially for me. This religious belief leads to my idea about the Nativity Scene. It is so interesting to me and my family that we could honor Jesus furthermore by being able to recreate his birth which symbolizes Christmas. On this special day me and my family like to remember the Bible Verse 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV) “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” As for families who aren’t religious but still enjoy sharing gifts and loving feelings, they still celebrate by being with one another and receiving their favorite toys and gadgets. 

There are so many different ways to celebrate Christmas, even within different cultures and religions. For example, in the Jewish community, they celebrate Christmas as Hanukkah. Hindu celebrate Diwali which is usually in October or November on a Lunar Calendar and it is a festival of lights. Then there are some religions, like Muslims, that don’t celebrate anything like Christmas. 

Enough about the statistics, let me talk about me and my family’s traditions and how we celebrate this season. Our season starts early the day after Thanksgiving. A group of us girls go on a huge shopping trip far away from home. We have gone to places like Tuscola, Champaign, and recently we have been to Plainfied and Edinburgh. These trips usually end in someone going mentally insane from lack of sleep and lots of being slap happy from long hours of being on our feet and waking up at 3 am to start our first day. One time my cousin Jana wasn’t thinking and asked, “what would happen if Black Friday fell on a Sunday? Then Hobby Lobby wouldn’t be open!” All we could say is, “Oh Jana, bless your heart.” This has become an ongoing joke and we are constantly teasing her about it.

Then our Christmas week starts early with baking what we call “Christmas Candy” the weekend before the chaos. The girls in our family get together at someone’s house. We all have one thing to bake and we make this candy and exchange all of it between the 14 of us. This tradition started many years ago when some of us just came up with the idea, and it has become a really big deal since. Ever since the first year, we have extended the amount of friends and family which makes it even more fun. Then with some of our spare time between weekends we plan all of our get-togethers and wrap presents as a family now (because me and my twin brothers are old enough to pick out our own presents so we know what we get). Our celebration starts on Christmas Eve with opening presents with my grandparents and my aunt’s family. We have a big Christmas with my mom’s side of the family at noon on Christmas Eve. We have Christmas with my dad’s family around 6 pm and celebrate Christmas almost all night, getting together and talking to people we haven’t seen in a while. Here we also open a few presents and always watch “A Christmas Story.” My family’s favorite quote from the movie has got to be, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” said by Ralphie’s mom. Usually after Christmas we get together with my dad’s extended family to sit around, play games and get together. 

One tradition I have with my Aunt Stacie is a classic that I love telling. One year when I was in grade school we had a Santa Workshop where kids could buy presents for low prices. This store was strictly for kids to buy presents for immediate family, so I was already taking a huge risk buying a present for my dear Aunt Stacie. I got away with buying the gift without anyone knowing it wasn’t for an immediate family member. I was sneaky and close to Christmas day me and my brothers went to my aunt Stacie’s to help her decorate her Christmas tree, and instead of letting my Aunt Stacie open her present, I opened it for her and stuck my beautiful apple ornament I had bought her right on the tree without her even knowing. Later on that night after finishing the tree, Stacie noticed my apple and said, “Who put this apple on the tree? It’s ugly.” After I proceeded to tell her I had bought her that ornament with my own money, Stacie started shedding tears, showing her remorse for me. Every year after that my red and green apple has been put right in the center of the tree no matter the color or theme of the tree.

There are so many more little traditions that my family ties into our Christmas experience, like taking a picture in front of my grandma’s TV (Don’t ask me why we take it in front of the blank TV instead of the tree; I have no idea.) Our favorite thing to do is look through those pictures and see how we have all changed and all of the family we have gained since the first years taking the picture. We also always put trees up as a family, getting together and decorating my aunt Stacie’s, then Mamaw’s, and then my families. 

Just like that, Christmas is over. It was successful as you can tell by seeing more presents than floor. Your hearts and tummies are full of love and food. You’re exhausted, and you can finally enjoy the rest of your Christmas break, then return back to school in style.