It is the Advent season, and I think we are all ready for some Christmas cheer. Read on to find out how the Blessed Is She blog writers will be celebrating this year.
The Blessed is She Blog Team’s Favorite Christmas Traditions
Grace Bellon // Blog Contributor
For four years of my childhood, my parents homeschooled us. During that time my mom introduced a tradition she referred to as “Advent Angels” which was similar to “Secret Santa” but with some major differences.
Before Advent began each year, my siblings and I would all choose someone in our community who we thought needed some extra love and hope at Christmas (a neighbor, a friend from church, someone in a nursing home, etc). Then, we would send each of them a letter which let them know that they were being remembered in a special way during the season of Advent, while keeping our identity a secret.
We would pray for them daily, and send 2-3 more letters throughout the season. Then, right around Christmas, we would pay them a visit and reveal our identity as their Advent Angel and give them a small gift of some sort.
It’s been over twenty years since we’ve done it as a family, but it is still a cherished memory. It was a perfect way to fill Advent with Hope and Joyful Expectation.
Mytae Carrasco Wallace // Devotion Writer and Blog Contributor
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is making tamales with my mom. She makes her red chile sauce from scratch, shreds the chicken by hand, bathes the cornhusks, and perfects her recipe each and every year. There is nothing like seeing the steam come out of a fresh tamale as you gently peel the corn husk away—it’s like unwrapping a present!
Tamales aren’t just a reminder of home for me, but the coming of Christ as well. The anticipation of the birth of Jesus should include special meals that require extensive physical preparation and tamales certainly fit into that category. The process begins before the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe so that we can all start enjoying them on Our Lady’s Feast day, December 12th, until they are all gone.
It’s such a joy to be able to share our table of tamales with our friends and neighbors. There is something so special about the sharing of food that happens during Christmas. It’s a sign of how much we need to be in community with one another.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions as a child, and now, is selecting livestock from the Heifer International Christmas catalog to give to families in developing countries, as a family Christmas gift. It’s an organization that offers agricultural education to families in rural communities to help provide for their families and pass on the gift of nutrition, and education to their children and neighbors.
I remember my own delight as a kid imagining a family receiving a goat from our collective neighborhood Christmas party, and I love helping my own children understand the nature of gifting in a way that keeps on giving!
Valerie Keinsley // Blog Contributor
My favorite Christmas tradition is looking at stars on Christmas Eve. We accidentally started this tradition last year, when my husband and I were on our way home from my parents house, and I blurted out, “The stars are beautiful! Pull over!”
With sleeping babies in the backseat, we stood by the side of the minivan next to a nondescript Indiana cornfield and looked up at the Heavens. Something about it felt so fitting—thinking about how Mary must have felt that Christmas Eve thousands of years ago. Maybe she, too, stared at the sky as they finished their long journey into Bethlehem. Was she staring at the stars from her spot in the stable? We don’t know, of course, but I love thinking about it.
From now on, stars will always remind me of Christmas, and I hope it’s a tradition we continue year after year.
Each year I tape pieces of twine to the ends of one of our doors and use mini clothespins to attach Christmas cards to it. When it comes time for the Christmas decorations to be put away, I unclip each Christmas card and place it into a box where my husband and I pray. Then, each morning, we take one card out and say a prayer for that individual or family.
This tradition provides plenty of Holy Spirit moments when we text them that they were included in our prayer intentions that day. Somehow the timing works out just right.
Olivia Spears // Blog Manager
Growing up, my family had a tradition of driving around town to look at Christmas lights. Similar to so many families, this yearly tradition was accompanied by hot chocolate and freshly-baked cookies. We would often have dinner with friends beforehand, and when I was really young, I’d just dress in my pajamas, because falling asleep in the car was guaranteed.
Now that I have my own young family, looking at the Christmas lights around town has remained a beloved tradition handed on. We have been intentional about placing this tradition on the feast of Saint Lucy, the Saint of light.
On this night, my parents join us as we drive past houses we know and love for their legendary displays. We carry with us freshly-baked cookies and hot chocolate. And I dress my kids in pajamas, because they are guaranteed to fall asleep in the car.
Tricia Tembreull // Blog Contributor
One of my favorite Christmas Traditions is taking gifts to the neighbors in my neighborhood. They are typically cookies, candles, mugs, or something small to brighten their day, but everyone does this so we can visit and catch up during the busy season.
I am blessed with neighbors who look after one another and really care for one another, so this chance to spread some Christmas cheer is a blessing during the holidays.
Whether your family’s Christmas season includes Advent Angels, donating livestock, stargazing, or something unique to you, we hope that you joyfully embrace this treasured time with your loved ones!
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