I have been wanting to write about our many Christmas time traditions in “real time” as they happen….but have already fallen behind. (in the writing arena – not the doing!) It is late already and I should be heading off to bed, but I’m going to go ahead and start sharing with you all the joys of the Lambdin family Christmas season in hopes of inspiring you to make your Christmas both meaningful and memorable. (and perhaps less materialistic)
Our Christmas season officially begins the weekend following Thanksgiving with the ritual of cutting down and trimming our Christmas tree. Every year, for the past 15 years we have ventured out of town to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our tree. And we have almost always been joined by friends and family members which just makes it even more fun. There have been many variations to this tradition over the years – going to different tree farms (from Sonora, to Santa Cruz Mountains to Mt Shasta National Forest) , sometimes stopping at a “greasy spoon” eatery for breakfast and other times eating a full sit down meal at our table complete with the fancy Christmas china, sometimes heading up early in the morning and getting back home for lunch and other times having a long lazy morning and not getting back until sundown.
But some things always remain the same:
- We always go cut our tree on Thanksgiving weekend.
- We always wear festive Christmas colors. (looks great in the photo albums & makes everyone get “in the mood”)
- We always listen to and sing along with Christmas CD’s in the car on the way – and Amy Grant’s Christmas Album is the first one played.
- We always take a family photo at the tree farm.
This year my #2 daughter, Amy made it to the State cross country meet in Fresno the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so we knew that getting our Christmas tree would have to take place as part of that adventure. Since the meet was scheduled bright & early Saturday morning we headed down to Fresno the night before and were graciously hosted by my life long dear friend Jule Rurik and her family (of all boys – so it evened things up a bit for us! If you are reading this Julie – thank you for a wonderful visit!) My sister, Caroline and her family also came to watch Amy run so after the competition we all headed out to a darling tree farm to keep with our Christmas tradition. This particular tree farm was spectacular – it had a train, a suspension bridge, a tree house, a miniature cottage and castle. It was amazing! We had a great time enjoying the warm afternoon in the pine scented wonderland.
Tree decorating consists of lots of laughter, festive music, egg nog and always a trip to the store to purchase a new string of lights! (I am convinced that their is some type of computer chip in those lights that is set to make them stop working the minute you pull them out of storage!)
We want to make all our Christmas traditions meaningful and one of the ways we do that is during the tree trimming. The very FIRST thing that goes on the tree is a large nail – representing the nails that were used to put Jesus on the cross. As we hang it on the inner trunk of the tree, we remind the children that even as Christ was coming into the world as a baby that God had a plan for Him to be nailed on that cross to save us all from our sins.
After the tree is decorated we turn out all the lights and turn on the twinkle lights on the tree. It is always a warm feeling as we watch the lights glowing in the darkness. We then stop and read “The Tale of Three Trees” a traditional folk tale retold by Angela Hunt that is a wonderful story about three trees and how they each played a part in Jesus’s birth, life and death despite their personal dreams and life dissapointments. It is a great story for children and adults alike. We read it again during Holy Week before Easter as we have usually made a cross out of the Christmas tree trunk at the end of the season to use in preparation for Easter. This helps the children to tie everything together – the birth, the life, the death an the ressurection of Jesus Christ. Our main goal as parents is to teach our children to love the Lord and serve Him faithfully throughout their lives.
Our Christmas tree traditions give us another opportunity to do this.