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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Friday, December 23, 2005


As a family we like traditions. Actually, we love them. A couple days ago while talking on the phone to a friend of mine, she happened to ask if we had any special traditions we observed during the Christmas season. She shouldn't have asked. That is, she shouldn't have asked if she didn't want to hear me prattle on for the next several minutes about my favorite Christmas traditions. :) Some of our traditions are a bit unusual, some funny, some we won't be able to do this year, and some I hope to keep for the rest of my life. Talking about our traditions reminded me just how dear to my heart they are, and so I'd like to share with you all just a few that mean the most to me.

Growing up we were the only family I knew of (besides my aunt and her children) who opened their gifts Christmas Eve. Never once though did I succumb to peer pressure and wish that we could have our gift exchange Christmas morning like all the other kids. In fact, I always felt sort of sorry for the other kids who had to wait a whole extra night for their presents!

Closing my eyes, I see in my mind our darkened living-room aglow with the lights of the Christmas tree, and the candles dancing their flames across the window panes. Packages lie neatly arranged around the tree, wrapped primarily in three different kinds of wrapping paper. Mom's tradition, in her organized and ordered way, is to use one kind of wrapping paper per child to ease confusion in arranging the gifts, and to give a coordinated look. Eggnog in hand, we take turns opening our presents while munching on homemade pepperoni bread, cheese and crackers, and chocolate chip cookies. It is the same menu every year. . . for that's tradition!

Christmas morning finds us seated around Dad as he opens the Bible to Luke 2 and once again reads the beloved Christmas story. Following the Bible reading, those of the younger generation in this family each receive a stocking stuffed with little packages to open. A new toothbrush in each stocking is a must - Mom never forgets. Often we will find a homemade Christmas tree ornament made specifically for us by Mom's loving hands.

This Christmas some traditions will not be able to be kept. We have always spent Christmas Day with extended family members, but due to distance that will not be a possibility this year. In previous years we've celebrated the day with a delicious brunch with my mom's dad and step-mom. Christmas dinner was shared with my mom's grandparents gathering around our heavily laden table. This year there was no Christmas caroling to our beloved neighbors, although we did enjoy the opportunity to carol to other people's neighbors, it simply wasn't the same. I am reminded to hold dearly and cherish in my heart those traditions we can no longer practice while eagerly anticipating the making of new ones here.

When I think closely of why these Christmas traditions mean so much to me, I see that the binding cord in each one is my family. Eating our special foods, opening our gifts by candlelight, watching our annual showing of "It's A Wonderful Life;" none of these would be the same if done alone. It's not really the traditions that are so special, it's who you do the traditions with that make them so dear. To put it in other words, my most favorite tradition of all is spending time together making memories as a family during the Christmas holiday.



Anonymous Derek said...

I loved reading your post, it was great. What a fabulous Christmas you have every year! Merry Christmas to you and your family. May God bless you for the remainder of this year and into the next!


10:35 AM  
Blogger The Horn Family said...

Thanks, Derek.

I missed seeing your house all decorated for Christmas this year -it's always so beautiful! New Year's Day simply will not be the same this year. Remember the time I came all covered in chicken pox? Ah, memories . . . :)

Merry Christmas to you all and of your family from all of us.


12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love hearing you prattle on!

2:20 PM  
Blogger Pc3 said...

Merry Christmas to all the Horns!

(yes Tim even you)

the Coghlan's

12:58 PM  
Blogger sugarcubed said...

Merry Christmas Cara! I miss the caroling too, and seeing your house all lit up with those oil lamps and candles your mom always has going. I think the flickering flame of an oil lamp and the atmosphere it creates will always remind me of Christmas gatherings at your house. :)

4:19 PM  
Blogger Parish Family said...

Your post was delightful Cara! You are an excellent writer, and truly made me feel what it must be like to be at your home during Christmas time. I hope you had a very merry Christmas!

Much love,


7:51 PM  

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