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Memories of Christmas
Photo: Susan H.
Growing up in Columbia, South America, our Christmas traditions were especially memorable. On Christmas Eve families gathered for songs, the retelling of the Christmas story, a good meal and colorful fireworks to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

At home, we remembered Christmas by bringing out our small ceramic figurines of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, with a few camels, the three wise men whom we knew as Gasper, Melchior and Baltazar, and a few random sheep.

Every year our holiday display received additional figurines to go with little houses made out of construction paper or cardboard. We used moss gathered from the mountains nearby to form grass for the hillsides of Bethlehem. We put lights inside the houses—and of course a nice, bright star over the place where our parents would place Baby Jesus while we slept on Christmas Eve.

One year after eating some pistachios Dad had bought, I saved the shells and made a little path from the bottom of the hill leading up to Mary and Joseph. Another year, we got a small mirror, covered the edges with moss, and then put down plastic ducks, geese and swans to “swim” on it.

Combined Traditions

Coming to the United States, we learned to appreciate the beauty of a Christmas tree with garland around it, bright lights twinkling in the dark and other common holiday decorations. Pam and I combined traditions so our daughters could learn from each culture and family. Now we all look forward to those special times with the traditions we have created.

Family traditions achieve at least three benefits. First, they knit a family together, helping all the members get to know one another better. Second, they create positive memories which can provide encouragement and stability. Third, they leave a cherished heritage to pass along to future generations.

Here are seven ideas for building positive memories and traditions: 

1. Family Night. Turn off the television. Talk, laugh and play together.

2. Date night. Spend special time as a couple or with each of your children.

3. Birthdays. Everyone in the family should feel special on his or her birthday! The birthday person might get breakfast in bed or participate in a treasure hunt for presents. Be creative.

4. Mealtime. Do not allow a day to go by without sitting down as a family and eating around the dinner table. The conversation can be electric, hilarious and invigorating. Some of the family’s greatest memories may be from those dinner table conversations.

5. Your Faith. Giving thanks to God before meals is one way for a family to connect with another daily. Scripture reading and prayer times will create wonderful memories. Worshiping together can enhance communication among family members. In addition to attending church together, make it a point for your family to attend special events at your church each year.

6. Family Vacations. Many great memories are created from time spent with the family on vacation.

7. Holidays. Holidays are perfect for establishing traditions and making memories.

However you may choose to celebrate, enjoy your family and the traditions you share together. They will draw you closer and help you enjoy love for a lifetime.

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By Claudio Consuegra. Reprinted with permission from Mid-America Outlook Magazine, December 2006, with permission from the Mid-America Union. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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