Disclaimer: my family is a big bunch of nutcases. And I say that with love in my heart. But we are! For example, one beloved Christmas tradition is, right after we bless the meal, my Uncle Barry does what we call the "hog call." He clasps his hands together over his mouth and starts making the most lifelike pig snorting sound I've ever heard! Like a hog coming to the trough for his slop. Apparently this is to encourage everyone to get their plates and eat up?! So strange. We love it. Don't judge.
Another one of my very favorite traditions: each time my ENTIRE family is together, which really only happens every few years, because usually someone is missing because of being at the other in-laws' house, having an out-of-town Christmas, etc--we get out the video camera and do what we call "Roll Call". Everyone in the family lines up, oldest to youngest, and takes their turn in front of the camera. Each person says their name, where they live and/or go to school, and what they want for Christmas. It's one of my very favorite traditions because we can look back over the years and see how people have grown and changed, and how our family has grown. I especially love looking back at the years before I was born and seeing my brother, sister, and cousins when they were young!
Another favorite: participating in Carols by Candlelight, my church's Christmas program. I have been involved in it in many different ways--cast in the drama as a king's attendant, a villager, and one year as Mary, children's ensembles, and now the adult choir. I love being a part of a music ministry, especially at Christmastime. I feel truly close to the Lord when I'm singing!
I didn't really grow up with a Christmas Eve tradition besides going to the Christmas Eve service, so it worked out perfectly that each year Taylor's family cooks gumbo and opens presents on Christmas Eve. They have been so kind to include my parents in it too, since my sister and brother each have Christmas Eve traditions with their in-laws.
Taylor and I discussed the other day what traditions we want to implement in our little family. First of all, we want to make sure we always read the Christmas story (maybe varying each year which of the 4 gospels we read from) on Christmas morning. Also, on Christmas morning we want to cook grits and grillades!! For those of you who don't know what this is, it's a traditional New Orleans brunch food consisting of beef or pork slow cooked with vegetables and served over grits. Mmmmm. Since most of Taylor's family is originally from Louisiana (my dad was born there too, actually), we thought this would be a fun tradition to incorporate!
Mmm yummygoodness in a bowl.
We are still thinking on the others. Of course we want to always take a night to drive around and look at the Christmas lights. (Although we haven't done that yet this year! I guess we'd better hop to it tonight!)
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and that you enjoy many traditions together with your family!