Branden and I have this tradition for the boys. It started the first Christmas we had them both. Silas had just turned two, and Ethan was only 9 months old. We were young (and tired!) and didn’t really have money to get the boys presents, so we made them something. Branden built them these small hand puppets and I crocheted them little toys – a robot for Silas (who he named Zombie!) and an octopus with dangly legs for Ethan.
The next year we still didn’t really have a lot of money for presents. Branden shaped and painted wooden blocks and I crocheted two more toys. The next year we had a little money, but we made them something anyways, just because we wanted to! Each year since, we’ve given them a handmade gift for Christmas. Now there are toys that they see in the store or see commercials for, but they usually ask what we’ll be making them :)
This is Branden finishing up this year’s handmade gifts at 1am this morning! They’re now nestled among the other packages beneath the tree, waiting to be unwrapped. We always try to do a lot of fun activities to celebrate the season, but making the boys a present has become one of our favorite ways to celebrate Christmas. I’d love to continue this tradition forever! I’m not sure what we’ll be making them when they’re 30 with families of their own, but I guess we’ll take it a year at a time!
Here’s what I’m thinking about traditions:
- They require consistency – you have to be present and intentional!
- They usually require you to give of yourself for others – time, energy, money, attention
- They become tied with an occasion – holiday, birthday, even a place
- They become part of what makes something what it is – “For my birthday, we always…”
- They connect people – Most traditions are people doing things together. They require people and those people are what make traditions special!
I hope this season finds you celebrating, in your own special ways. And if you’re away from your people, I hope you find that there’s still much to celebrate (and maybe new ways!) I am thankful for this truth:
“This is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” – 1 John 4:9
Happy Christmas from the Emerald Isle!