Holiday Traditions

Posted by  | Sunday, August 17, 2008  at 9:10 PM  
Earlier this week, I asked my sweet friend, Shannon Hazleton, to share her family's unique perspective on celebrating Christmas. Thank you Shannon, other post-ers, and readers for opening our minds to new ways to celebrating/honoring holidays.

At this point, I don't have any earth-shattering ideas regarding holiday traditions, but I would still like to share a few things.

My husband and I are still praying through our family's holiday traditions. With that said, at this point, we do give minimal gifts, mainly to our extended families. Last year, my husband and I didn't buy anything for each other, and since our daughter was one year old, we didn't buy her anything either. Her grandparents gave so much to her. Santa was not celebrated in our home last year, and we haven't FULLY decided as to what we will do this year, but we're leaning more towards no Santa. We'll give you an update once we decide. Also, I grew up in a military home where we moved every few years; therefore, celebrating Christmas at home was a rare occasion. My husband and I would like to stay at home on Christmas Day if we can and then travel after our family-time, since all Grandparents live out-of-state.

We will celebrate Halloween this year. We want our daughter to enjoy dressing up/pretending, and as Dr. Dobson said it so well (paraphrasing), we feel there is room for some harmless fun "if the focus is on fantasy rather than the occult." I also have heard of people allowing their children to dress up and represent unreached people groups in the world for Halloween. What a way to instill a world view into your children! Is that not awesome?! We hope to do that one day. If you would like some more information regarding this, here is a message from Focus on the Family titled, "Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?" Also a book: "Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out". I have yet to read the book, but I trust the recommendation of Focus on the Family. Lastly, I am not a big advocate for consuming candy (and definitely not in mass amounts) and personally believe that consuming candy on Halloween paves the path for and contributes to catching the flu and other Winter bugs, so I haven't quite figured out how to let our future children participate in the joys of Halloween and not consume the candy. Hmm...that's another post for another day, but please comment if you have any solutions (wink-wink!).

Stay tuned for next week's topic: Balancing Life as a Mom. It should be a very helpful week and one that helps our maternal defenses fall, as we hear the common struggles amongst us all and how we each find our own personal solace.


Christy said...

With such a young family, I haven't really felt like I have had a lot to contribute to this week's discussion on holiday traditions. Until Hollie mentioned staying at home on Christmas day, that is.

My husband and I were married in December of '05. Because of the business of that, a honeymoon, unpacking etc., we decided to tell our families that we wanted to celebrate Christmas with just the two of us. We planned that we would spend Christmas day together and then travel to his parents' house for two days and then to my parents' house for the two days following. My birthday is on the 29th of Dec. so that way we could celebrate that with my fam. as well.

I can't say our families were thrilled about it, but they respected it. I can say hands down that it was the best decision we've made as a married couple, especially so early on. It really paved the way for establishing in their minds that we are our own family now. And that we make decisions as such.

We've done the same thing each year since. My husband and I love being able to "do Christmas" the way we want to do it with no pressure from family about what is to be done on that day.

That was especially nice last Christmas as it was our daughter's first Christmas. We were able to start traditions with her that weren't influenced by the outside opinions of our families and just enjoy the day as a family.

It's always such a relaxing and fun day.
We've had SO MANY friends tell us how jealous they are that we are able to do that and how they wish they had done the same in the very beginning of their marriages.

If you're engaged or not yet married I would highly recommend discussing with your future hubby what you all want to do with holidays. And then stick to your guns, with grace of course, but be firm. As I said it really paves the way for parents to respect the new family that is being established.

Shannon said...

Yeah, I think this is a good point to bring up. Every family is going to be different, of course. But this is also one of the best decisions we made as a couple as well. We have some family just 30 minutes from us. But with the rest of our family 4 hours one direction and 5 hours the other direction, we agreed from the beginning that we will always spend Christmas at our own house. Everyone else is invited and welcome to join us, but we will not be traveling to visit them on Christmas. Family is VERY important to us, and we DO see them quite often (especially now that there's grandchildren involved.)

Again, every family is going to be different, but we have never regretted this decision. It made it easy to "leave and cleave" as the Word says for married couples to do. And it saved our new marriage a lot of stress and financial strain.

I'm so interested to hear how everyone does things differently! And now I really can't wait to read about the balancing act of being a mom! I've got my pen and paper ready to take notes! :)

ChezDeshotels said...

Amen to that my husband and I do not travel on Christnmasit was something we decidd before we got married as well and since we also married in Dec 03 we had lots of stuff going so it worked out well, yet I will say it has caused MANY MANY problems with my in-laws but that is a novel in and of its self. But we have decided it was important to us as well and we have stuck to it.


Andy, Pam, Katelyn, and Zachary said...

Suggestion for Halloween:

A friend of mine passed this along and we loved it. Instead of just receiving candy door to door you go and give a piece of cndy with the following attached.

Happy Halloween!
"Our Trick, God's Treat"

Thank you so much for the treat,
we know that it will be fun to eat!
We want to share this thought with you and
hope that you will share it too!

Long before time began, Father God had a plan
for His people to without sin get along
But we blew it, you see, when we chose selfishly to insist on OUR WAY and do wrong.

What we did was a trick that made God really sick
But He didn't trick us in return
He reached out with a treat that is sweeter than sweet
It's a treat that we never could earn

God says, "I'll be your friend!
I'll forgive all your sin
I sent Jesus to make you brand new."
On this Halloween night as you turn out your light,
just remember how much He loves you!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

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