Today, several Mormon Women share some of their family traditions during the Christmas season.
This is one small way our family tries to remember the real reason for this sacred Christmas season: an advent calendar with scriptures to read together as a family every night. The first two weeks have scriptures that tell a story about the Savior’s life and his example to be a better person. The next two weeks focus specifically on the events surrounding his miraculous birth and the wonderful first Christmas story. Even with my young children, we have found this brings a greater focus on what is most important (and keeps our minds away from Santa Claus, presents, and candy canes).
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Every Christmas Eve, my family gathers together in Sacramento, CA near my Grandparents’ house. I say near, because my grandmother’s home is far too small to house their large family. My Grandparents have six daughters and one son. My Dad is the lone ranger in his family. All of my aunts have married and have had families of their own and have become grandmothers themselves. Many of my family gatherings have over 80 people in attendance including children. So we have Christmas Eve in a reception hall or at a local church each year to accommodate a full dinner and show.
My grandmother insists on having a Christmas program every year. My mother and aunts put together musical numbers. Tiny cousins sing Christmas carols and ring bells in time to the music. Stories are read. Sometimes we re-enact the Nativity. We always pray together as a family. At times, we enjoy heckling each others performances. Last year my cousin’s daughter proved herself to be a musical prodigy by professionally singing a medley from the musical Wicked. We were amazed. Sometimes we bear our testimonies of the reality of the Savior Jesus Christ and other times my grandmother reads letters from our cousins who are serving full time missions for the LDS Church. As much as I hate the pressure to perform, the Christmas program is a very nice family tradition. This tradition has lasted for decades, here is a picture of me in 1979 at the family Christmas Eve party playing Mary.
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Every November, as the Christmas season comes closer, the tradition I look forward to most is getting out my nativity collection and displaying the pieces in our home. My small collection started with a very “average” nativity bought from a local store. I feel blessed that people have brought me nativities from around the world. When we were engaged, my husband brought one home from Uruguay, and a couple of years ago, a dear friend had her parents bring one home from Nepal. I love them both!
I have several nativities for my children to play with. I love watching them learn the real story of Christmas while they play with the figures, and sing “Silent Night”.
One of the nativities that is most special to me is a handmade Amish Nativity. It’s so different and reminds me of a special time in my life.
What do you do to remember the Savior’s birth during this season?
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Your family sounds great Janelle!
I haven’t been able to celebrate Christmas with my family (my parents, siblings, extended family) in about 10 years. So this time of year can be bittersweet as I hear “There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays” sung on the radio and listen to everyone else’s family plans. I try to keep up the traditions of my family, and my husband’s family, with our 4 children but it can be hard when we don’t have that family help and support nearby. I was uplifted by Elder Eyring’s Christmas message in the Ensign this month, he talks about the longing for family that we all have. Here’s a link:
I love to listen to Christmas songs about Jesus. There are many other ones that I enjoy singing with my children like Rudolph and Frosty… But we try to make sure that many of the songs are about Christ.
Your nativities are beautiful. I hope to have a small collection of them someday and I love that you have some that your children can play with. I was going to make one this year, but haven’t made the time to.
In my family on Christmas Eve we always had a simple dinner which was followed by Christmas Bingo. Everyone played and everyone won prizes. Following the game, we would open one present (always new pajamas), and then we would sit quietly as my mom read the story of Christ’s birth from the bible. We probably never sat so quietly as we did when she was reading those verses to us.
We do this now with my family. I also listen to a lot of different Christmas music – it brings the Spirit into my heart and it makes me excited.