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Christmas Traditions

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Preserving a Legacy of Family, Faith, and Food – November 1 – December 31

Christmas. My favorite time of year. I love the wintery goodness that comes along with this marvelous holiday. Jack Frost nipping at my nose, toes, fingers, and any other available part of my body. Breaking out the coats, gloves, beanies, and scarves makes me one happy lady! Sitting with a cup of hot tea or a mocha while snow flurries fall to the ground brings a sense of peace for me.

The weather isn’t the only reason I love this holiday. The birth of Jesus excites me to no end! I love reading books about Jesus during the Christmas season. One year I read Jesus, the One and Only, and it just about knocked my socks off! Fabulous! Listening to the Christmas songs sang across the world  dedicated to my Savior tickles me to pieces. The world is hearing about Jesus, even if they don’t celebrate Him.

While growing up, we had some fun traditions. My dad would stay up late, putting together whatever gift “Santa” brought us. He’d make sure we left out cookies and milk, and always, by the next morning, they’d disappear. Dad would tell elaborate stories of how he sat and chatted with Santa for a few minutes before he headed off in his sleigh, delivering toys and goodies worldwide.

My sisters and I would get up at the crack of dawn, literally. 3:00 a.m. wouldn’t come fast enough. Little did we realize at the time, my dad would make so much racket so we’d wake up. Biggest kid of all. So, we’d all get up and go into my parents’ room. My dad would be “fast asleep” and snore like a bear. We’d wake up my mom first and then move over to my dad. He would tell us to go back to bed, but our begging and pleading would “sway” him. But first, we’d have to make our beds. We’d rush back into our rooms and hastily put together our beds. Not perfect, but close enough.

Then came the task of waking up my oldest sister, who was not a morning person, especially that early! After grumbling, she’d glare at us and get up. Then, we’d all get in line in the  hallway. Dad was pretty meticulous, huh? From oldest to youngest, we’d line up. Dad would march us into the living room to a mound of presents wrapped under the Christmas tree, just waiting to be ripped open.

Dad would hand out each gift. We’d sit and watch that person open the present and ooh and ahh. When it was all said and done, we’d all be so exhausted, we’d literally go back to bed!

My traditions for my family are a little different. My husband and I have taught our three boys who the real St. Nick is. Christmas morning, before any gifts are opened, we huddle together as my husband reads about the best gift of all, Jesus. Then, we have our boys open their stockings and their gifts. We do one person at a time, just like my dad taught me to. I love watching my family’s faces as they discover what treasure lays beneath the wrapping paper.

But then, as the day draws to a close, I lay my head down and thank God for giving me a father who loved to celebrate Christmas, whose imagination brought to life a magical day for me. I love the little boy my dad turned out to be when Christmas came around. Seeing it through his eyes taught me the joy of gift giving, and for that, I am extremely thankful!


Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, She is living the dream in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Joi loves being a wife and mom and also enjoys spending time with friends over a good cup of coffee or tea. She’s been a Christian for over twenty years. She’s the author of two books, Hope for Tomorrow and Hope for the Journey, and one novella, Christmas Rayne.

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  1. Traditions! What a wonderful concept. We love traditions. We have so many we have to chose which ones to do. I'm not sure how/when this happened. When all our kids were little we would get them in their jammies, drive around to look at Christmas lights and then stop at McDonald's for ice cream. Doing something like going out in public in their jammies was exciting. Of course mom and dad were dressed!
    1. Phyllis, that sounds like fun! We we lived in the suburbs we would always take a night and drive around the neighborhoods to look at the different displays. Now that we live in a small town, we usually drive to the local fairgrounds where they have a Christmas lights display each year.
  2. How fun! My husband and I used to take our kids to a neighborhood for Christmas lights when we lived in CA. Living in CO, we haven't found anything like that, but we still search for lights in neighborhoods! :)
    1. Joi, I just remembered something from the past. When we lived in a suburb of Atlanta, my 3 year old daughter Sarah (who's 18 years old now), loved to go look at the Christmas lights. As we drove past she would oooh and aww and say, "Soooooo preeeeety!" over and over again. What sweet memories! Where does time go?
  3. Your dad is marvelous! He took pains to establish the tradition of Santa in your family. I love how you are trying to create your own Christmas tradition centered around the celebration of Jesus and His birth. I'm sure your kids would look back to their youth and appreciate what you taught them in their early lives.

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