Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Christmas Traditions

I already blogged about the most important Christmas tradition for my family. But I thought I would share a few other, smaller traditions that I enjoy.

10. Trimming the tree. In past years, it was always Dad’s and my job to wind the tree with lights and garland. Now with so many willing little hands, the job is delegated a little more, but still taken very seriously. There is this big joke every year about putting the lights on vertically instead. My mom hates lights that go up and down a tree, so at some point it invariably comes out: “Whatdya think about just putting these things up and down this year?” Its a really old, dumb, lame joke, but my dad or I (or both) always bring it up.

9. My Campbell’s soup ornaments. Okay, so this is technically part of the tree-trimming, but it is a separate, important tradition. For the first 7ish years of my life my mom every year got me a round ball ornament from Campbell’s soup with a different picture on each one. Then for many years she couldn’t find them any more, and then sometime when I was in high school she located a couple more. So I probably have somewhere around 10 of them. Every year I very strategically place each globe on the tree, in order by the date on them. They are my most important ornaments. Now the dumb thing about this tradition is that for the first time I didn’t even do it this year. Go figure. Actually, when the tree-trimming process was going on I was sick in bed, and the tree was very full of ornaments by the time I got up, and so none of my ornaments are on the tree. But thats ok. I’m not bitter.

8. Getting a new ornament every year. Ok, after this one I will leave the tree and its ornaments alone, I promise. But I have to include this one. Every year my mom gets us each a new ornament that we get to open the day we put our tree up. Its the only present we are allowed to open early. She gets one for my dad every year, so that when we are all out of the house, they will still have ornaments for their tree. Yeah, so they should have roughly 35 ornaments by the time Carrie leaved the house. So not counting the ornaments we get from grandparents and who knows who all else, this year we have 92 ornaments from my mom alone. Wow.

7. Celery sticks. Weird, I know. But its a Risinger tradition, that on Christmas Eve when we spend the day at my Dad’s parents, my Grammie takes celery and stuffs it with cream cheese and olives. Doesn’t that sound disgusting? I don’t even like olives, but this combination is amazing! It wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Ok, so it would, I know, I’m just saying. Try it sometime.

6. Calling my Uncle Paul. Like I already said, Christmas Eve day we spend with my grandparents and my dad’s sister and her family. My dad also has a brother, Paul, that lives out in Oregon with his family. Each year we send presents to them, and they to us, and on Christmas Eve we call them and we all open our presents with them on the phone. We always look forward to the family being all together in this way. I really, really wish that they would come home for Christmas again though. Just in case Uncle Paul is reading this! ;)

5. Christmas cards. My mom has this thing for the Christmas cards we receive. She hangs them from every door post all over the house. And leaves them up till February. I kid you not. We take down all our other decorations and christmas paraphernalia on New Years Day, but the cards? Oh no. we can’t touch those for two more months. She says she likes to leave them up because some we don’t even receive until after Christmas, and so those ones she wouldn’t get to leave up very long if we took them all down the next week. So up they stay. And every year we complain about it, just to give her a hard time.

4. Christmas gift exchanges. I know that sometimes it seems like you have a bagillion $5 gifts to buy for all those many gift exchanges, but I enjoy them. There are so many ways to do it. I like the one where everyone is in a circle and someone reads a version of the Christmas story, and every time they say “right” or “left” you have to pass your present that direction. You never know what you will end up with! White elephants are fun too. One time I gave a giant pickle in one of those. How fun!

3. Drinking soda. Ok, so this is more of a fun past tradition, but is was super important at the time. Growing up, I was not allowed to have caffeine because it made me even more hyper than I already was and kept me up all night. So the only day of the whole year that I was allowed to have Mountain Dew soda was on Christmas day. And yes, I looked forward to it for 364 days. My family still sometimes teases me about it now, when they see me drinking soda on Christmas, and they’ll say something like, “Are you having your one soda, Nicole?” :)

2. Staying up real late. When I was younger this was because of #3, but the older I have gotten the later and later I have stayed up. A lot of times on Christmas Eve the last few don’t go to bed until 2 or 3 am. I also have graduated to sleeping on the pull-out sofa in the TV room with my older cousins. Yup, some of the best Christmas memories are of 3 of my cousins sharing that bed and then going to wake them up in the morning for presents. Not very nice, was I? Now that I am in there, I am the receiver of such treatment though. :)

But you know what my number 1 favorite tradition is? Yes, I love the fun and fellowship that comes along with all of our Christmas festivities. But more important to me is:

1. Reflecting on the birth of my Saviour. It awes me to think that the God of the universe was a tiny baby on earth. He was a baby to be held, just like my little cousin Kevin (that I get to hold in 9 sleeps). Maybe its because I am a woman, but it awes me to think of Mary, giving birth to my Saviour in the muck and mire, with nothing to lay him in but a manger, and no clothes for him but swaddling clothes. It awes me that my Saviour humbled Himself to be born among cattle, shepherds, and sheep. Did you ever think about the fact that the baby Jesus needed his diaper changed too? Talk about humbling Himself!

I know that the focus of our redemption is on Christ our Lord dying and being resurrected for our sins. But the blessed fact remains that He did come as a Baby, stooping to such humble dwelling to be born to a virgin girl. And that fact to me is awesome.

So I hold my baby cousin Kevin, I plan to imagine what it would have been like to hold the Saviour of the universe, the One that died for my sins and yours. What a humbling thought.

What traditions do you enjoy? What traditions are unique to your family?


  1. So...those Campbell soup ornaments? Any chance you had a tomato soup one....? :) Love and miss you!!!


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