Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Traditions: 2010

As we were driving home from Palm Desert, Dave started dreading even the idea of going to cut down our Christmas tree at a tree farm. Only one of the kids was looking forward to it and I realized that I am not creating the happy memories that I think I am. I am forcing traditions for tradition sake and most of our family doesn't enjoy some of the things we do. So, I caved. And we drove to a tree lot in Walnut Creek where a tree fell on Ryan and we decided that it picked us! We had it delivered, with fresh cut, and set up in a stand a few days later. We all agreed that although it sounds pretty lazy, this was the way to go. I still get to have everyone go to find the tree but no one has to help get it home, in the house, or set up. See, I can compromise!

Every year I try to create new traditions that all of the kids can be involved in and enjoy. This year we did two that we are anxious to continue. We did the Twelve Days of Christmas for our friends' family that has had some health problems. We just wanted to bring extra cheer and had such a fun time bringing surprises everyday and ringing the doorbell and running away. One of the kids was seen a few days into it, then one day the daughter was waiting for us and chased one of the kids, but we got away. We figured they new it was us, but pretended they didn't until the last day when we brought toffee and caroled to them. Our kids felt good helping them to have a little happier Christmas season. They are already trying to figure out a family to do next year.

We took our annual overnight trip into San Francisco on the 23rd. We went to the Exploratorium and to Macy's to see the windows and pick out ornaments. Then before we ate dinner, we did our second new tradition...feeding and helping homeless people. Everyone knows I have brought food for people since our days in New York nearly 20 years ago, but this is the first time we actually have made sacks of food and very intentionally sought out people. We made 18 lunches (not nearly enough!) and brought new scarves, mittens, and hats and walked around Union Square. It didn't take long to give everything away. A lot of really amazing things happened, but the most memorable thing was when I handed a man a bag of food and he immediately gave it to his wheelchair bound wife, not knowing we had more. We gave him another one and he was so grateful. We were so touched at his thoughtfulness to her. I loved watching the joy in the kids' faces as they were able to really tangibly help people in need. And seeing the people we talked to feel happy as we helped them made us all feel good. We decided this is definitely a tradition to do it every season and during the year.

At the Temple grounds and Visitor's Center
We had Cornish Game Hens with the sister missionaries for Christmas Eve dinner, then went to the temple visitors center to start the evening off with the right Spirit. We watched the Luke 2 movie of the birth of Christ and looked at the beautifully lit up grounds. I always love the temple, but there is something even more special about it when it is decorated to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
Posted by Picasa


Jessica said...

That's so funny because we had the opposite experience when we did this one year with Mikey's family. All the people we gave stuff to kept asking us, "Where's the money. We want money." So we never did it again!!! Glad yours was better!!

Kathryn said...

Wow! Sounds like you had some neat experiences and a fun holiday! I have to admit, I have always wanted to cut my own tree down for Christmas, but we have a fake. :(

jhoopes said...

I love that the boys are in shorts "picking out" a Christmas tree! Ah, California!! You bring up a great point about traditions, too!! Happy new year!