It’s a Family Tradition

By way of introduction, let me say I’m the daughter of a church musician. That means church services were a huge part of my family’s Christmas celebrations. They still are!

My best memories are of the family ushering in Christmas at a glorious midnight service that ended with the lights being extinguished and everyone in the congregation holding lit candles and singing Silent Night. The sanctuary was warmed by candlelight and four-part harmony.

Then our fatoast to xmasmily would go home, put on our favorite pajamas and gather around the huge Christmas tree my mother always insisted on and toast the holiday with a glass (or two) of champagne. Even as children, we were allowed a tiny bit of the bubbly. As far back as I can remember, this has been our Christmas Eve tradition—and it still is today.

Often New Year’s Eve would be spent in a similar manner–all night parties just weren’t the rage where I grew up.

I hope your holidays were merry and 2015 brings you lots of joy and happiness!

Cheers!

 

www.TracyGarrett.com

Tracy Garrett
History, Texas, cowboys, horses—these are a few of Tracy’s favorite things. Check out her westerns at www.TracyGarrett.com.

4 Comments

  1. Have a great new year! I enjoyed hearing your family traditions.

  2. Traditions are so important to me but I have had to adjust as the in laws were added to the family.

    We still have soup for Christmas Eve supper but now it isn’t always the chili my family always had, this year it was oyster stew and chicken noodle.

    Another change is that because of distance we can’t all always be together on Christmas so gather at another time. This year it was the 13th and then we attended the play, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. Our Son was the main character, the narrator and Editor of the paper and our Grand daughter was the best friend of Virginia.

    We were at our son’s for Christmas and attended church with his family where he sang Mary Did You Know.

    New and changes can sometimes be good but I miss my siblings at this time of year more than any other.

  3. I miss the Christmas Eves of my childhood. My mother’s family (she was one of nine siblings) would all attend midnight mass together. We took up a large portion of the church since I had about 50 cousins. After mass, we would all squeeze into my grandparents house for brunch. We didn’t exchange gifts, except for the ones brought for the grandparents. We would get home about 2AM and somehow, Santa would have visited. My parents let us open a few gifts and we would go to bed. That allowed a little bit of sleeping in Christmas morning. In the morning we would open the rest of our gifts, get ready and go to my other grandparents for dinner with my dad’s 6 siblings and our cousins. Luckily, there were only 4 cousins on this side of the family. We are all grown and have our own families and grandchildren. The grandparents and many of the aunts and uncles are gone now, and everyone is scattered across the country. I miss the close and special time with family. We have made a few new ways to spend the holiday over the years, but have never lived anywhere long enough until our children were grown and moved away to try to have a similar tradition of our own.
    Thanks for sharing your special Christmas and lovely celebration.

  4. One Christmas Eve tradition that lives on as our children have become adults with children and grandchildren of their own is to attend Christmas Eve Candlelight services at our church. As the boys grew, we allowed them to open one gift before attending services and then when grandchildren arrived, we did the same if they were here. When a 5 PM service was added, we all went to that with the young ones and then out to eat as a family. Some of our best memories are tied to those services.

    We did the same at the end of the service as yours did, Tracy. Nothing like seeing a completely dark sanctuary become light with thousands of candles and the beauty of Silent Night being sung by the people. (Our sanctuary holds over 3500 people)

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