24 Dec

Tradition. It’s such a rich word. So meaningful. It holds memories for most all who hear it. And those memories are different for each person. I truly love tradition, and feel that it’s such an important part of families.

Each year on Christmas Eve, our family meets up with my parents and sisters (and now their husbands and even their kids!) and we go to the Christmas Eve service at church. It’s a family service, and I so enjoy watching my kiddos sing and clap their tiny hands in praise to the King. We always bring plenty of candy and things to do in order to keep them busy, and try to keep them quiet once the music is done. It’s one of those “why do we even try?” sort of deals, but then it is a family service.

After that ,we all drive to my parent’s house for dinner and some solid, quality time together. We all wear matching jammies (yup, even the adult men!), eat wonderful food (this year it’s going to be mexican food), put on a Christmas movie, put the children to bed, play a game together, and there is always a lot of laughter. Once the adults are ready to head to bed, we pull out air matresses and sleep in the family room by the tree. I have 2 younger sisters, and they’re both married. I also have one of the cutest nephews on the planet, and he is 16 months old.

So, collectively, there are 5 grandchildren sleeping throughout the house, 6 kids (that’s me and my 2 sisters and our husbands), and my parents. It’s a time that I truly treasure, and look forward to each year that we’re in Arizona with my family.

We wake up early to the kids anxiously asking if it’s time to open presents. We make a delicious breakfast called Johnson’s Specials (recipe to come soon!), eat together, read about the birth of Jesus, and open up our gifts. We hang out a bit, then it’s time to get ready for lunch with my more extended family.

We head over to my Uncle Randy and Aunt Sue’s house to a huge gathering. On my mom’s side of the family, she has 4 brothers and a sister, then there are 17 grandchildren, and now 10 great grandchildren! Both my grandparents are still living as well, and it makes for one very large, loud, fun time with lots and lots of delicious food, volleyball tournaments, gift exchanges, and a crazy card game called nutsy.

After lunch, I gather my kids up and we sing with everyone else “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, and blow out His candles on His birthday cake. And this year I’m adding something new- a pinata to also celebrate Jesus’ birthday. I’m so excited to see how it turns out. I also found these great Happy Birthday Jesus gift bags that can hold their candy from the pinata.

We head home that evening, tired, sugared up for sure, grateful, and ready for bed. It’s such a wonderful time, and I can’t wait for the celebration to begin!

What are some of your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions? I’d love to hear from you…

Zach and I in our matching jammies- Christmas Eve 2009

Here’s our kids on Christmas morning- SO hard to get them all to smile! šŸ™‚

Here’s us on Christmas Eve reading a book that the kids grammy and poppie sent them…


3 Responses to “Traditions”

  1. Andrea V. December 24, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    Very cute Christmas photo! Thank you for sharing your tradition with us. God bless you for all you do with Food Tidings! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family in Arizona!!!

    • Shepherd December 24, 2010 at 11:31 am #

      Thanks Andrea! Merry Christmas to you and your family as well! šŸ™‚

  2. Niki Gibson December 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Just wanted to stop by and drop you a line…to thank you for creating I’ve used it before when a very dear family encountered a tragedy just before Christmas last year, and again now for Sara and Todd. I love the fact that I can do “something”, and allow other people to do “something” to help, to show that we love and care for them. I think it’s soooo awesome that you are in fact helping MILLIONS of people to do “something”…it’s nice to know that we can do “something” for people we are praying for.

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