Last night my children were watching old videos of themselves from when they were younger. The laughter and the joy on their faces were priceless. That is what I love about taking pictures and capturing moments. Is there a better gift than replaying the past? Time frozen in the form of a picture or video is mind-blowing to me.
I remember those days when my children were small. Watching the videos, our children asked us, “do you and Daddy wish we were still that little?”
My husband and I said “No,” instantly and in unison. They wondered why because they were so cute. Although they were cute, those were some very long days and nights. I think back to those days raising small babies and wonder how the time had flown by so fast.
As Christmas time is approaching, it got me thinking about memories from my own childhood. I remember my mom getting out the boxes of tree ornaments, Christmas music playing in the background. My very favorite memories are Christmas Eves spent together. This became a family favorite tradition. My brother, sister and I would get to pick out our favorite foods for our mom to make. We gathered around, read the Christmas story, and opened one gift under the tree.
Memory keeping and traditions are so important.
They don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. They strengthen the family and give children and parents something to look forward to. They are symbolic and meaningful. It’s also something that is usually passed down from generation to the next. It’s the special things, that stand apart from the mundane day in and day out that are etched in our hearts and minds forever.
One of our favorite family traditions is to decorate the Christmas Tree together the day after Thanksgiving.
Our family has started making this yummy caramel puff corn while we decorate the tree and listen to Christmas music.
1 bag (8 to 9 ounces) puff corn (also known as hull-less popcorn)
1 cup butter (no substitutes)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 250°F. Spray a large roaster with cooking spray. Pour puff corn into the roaster.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup and mix well. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla extract; the mixture will foam and expand. Carefully pour syrup over puff corn and toss to mix.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Pour onto waxed paper or foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Let Caramel Puff Corn cool at least 30 minutes. Break into bite-size pieces and store in a closed container.
Here’s a list of other fun Christmas traditions to try:
- Have a gingerbread house making contest between adults and kids.
- Make a family Christmas countdown paper chain on November 30th.
- Travel around your town and look at Christmas lights in your pajamas and sipping hot cocoa.
- Pick a family to bless. Surprise them and bring them gifts or leave them on their doorstep anonymously. We did this last year with our children’s Aunt, Uncle, and cousins, and it left a huge impact on their hearts.
- Make an ornament together as a family and write the year on the back. This is so fun to look back on as the years go by!
- Volunteer at a local soup kitchen.
- Visit a nursing home together and sing carols.
- Bake a Happy Birthday Jesus cake.
- Bake and cook family favorite foods based on your heritage.
- Start collecting ornaments from different states/countries that you visit.
- Stay up late on Christmas Eve baking, and watching your family’s favorite Christmas movie.
- Lay on the floor and look up at your Christmas tree lights together.
- Complete a Jesse tree for the month of December. Every night read about a person from the Bible that was from the line of Christ. Pray together as a family. Then add an ornament to the tree that symbolizes that story. If you search Jesse tree online there are several different variations and ideas. I personally like these color your own paper ornaments. You could even grab your own branches from outdoors and stick them in the foam at the bottom of a potted vase.
- For the month of December, light a candle at dinner time. Read the On This Christmas devotional. This very unique journal allows you to document your family’s favorite traditions, memories, and gifts. There’s room to document for five years! Over time, memories fade if we don’t preserve them. Grab it now; it’s on sale!
- Bake a Happy Birthday Jesus cake.
- Cook or bake different types of food from your heritage.
- Collect ornaments from different places you travel around the world.
- Stay up late on Christmas Eve baking, laughing, and watching your favorite Christmas movie.
Whatever you choose to do with your family will be special! God gave you your family for a reason and a purpose. Cherish and treasure the fleeting moments together!