Kienow Family History and Heritage

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Christmas Traditions

Who can forget being the first to cross an open field of fresh snow - sparkling in the sunlight and crunching underfoot? Or, laying on your back and making angels? Who remembers the smell of Grandma's house while she was baking Christmas goodies by the roomful? How about the crack of the wood in the fireplace and the sound of carols and hymns coming from the radio or record player?

Those memories need to be nourished and preserved so that we may continue to be connected to each other and to ourselves. We cannot continue the journey of life without knowing where we have been or where we came from. The world was adrift, lost and without purpose until hope arrived. That is the message of Christmas - hope. Hope was brought  back into the world when Christ was born. Now, through our families and faith, we have direction and meaning in our lives. Share the splendor and wonder of God's creation.

This Christmas share yourself and your memories with your family. They are gifts that cannot be outgrown, worn out, taken away or exchanged. Do your children know where their traditions have come from? Do they know what part of their Christmas was a part of your Christmas growing up? Think of all the things you do out of habit - habits formed a lifetime ago. Examine your routines and give them meaning. It has been a marvelous experience listening to the traditions of my parents and how they blended together to become the Christmas I knew. I remember the special times with my grandparents, and I hope that I can be remembered as well as they are.

Think of what you know of the history of your traditions, and then talk about them this year. (Or even better yet, write them down - begin a journal or scrapbook of your celebrations) What traditions do you still wonder about? What signaled Christmas was coming? Was it music in the stores, snow on the ground, or finding a Christmas tree? What were the patterns you had on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

  • Do you remember a special Christmas, or received a gift you still remember? 

  • Where did you spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Who did you spend them with?

  • What foods did you eat? Who did the cooking?

  • How did your traditions change as your family changed? Were there people you saw at Christmas that you didn't see any other time of year?

  • What part did the Christmas story play in your celebrations? How significant was Santa Claus?

  • Break out the old photo albums and look at the Christmas pictures - what other memories do they spark?

  • Look at your list of Christmas cookies - which ones come from your mother's traditions and which ones from your father's?

  • How did you decorate your home? Did you have a real or artificial tree? What ornaments do you remember? Did you decorate your yard?

  • Think about your first Christmas away from home. What did you miss the most? What did you do to try and recreate Christmas for yourself?

There are a lot of emotions involved in this time of year, and none of them are meant to be experienced alone. Along with all the food and gifts and love you share this Christmas, share some of your heritage with your family, too.

Merry Christmas!

Last modified on 2019/12/28 by skenow

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