My daughters love our family traditions and are quick to correct you if you try to change any of them. I must say I love our traditions because they are what we have built our family memories on.
Our tree trimming tradition is one of our favorites. It starts with us pulling out the boxes of Christmas decorations. Of course, we must go through all the boxes to see what is in each one, even though we all know what’s there and we never use everything, and the same decorations are packed away “just in case” we may want to use them next year.
We begin with Christmas music playing: everything from Alan’s favorite, Handel’s Messiah to Alvin & the Chipmunks singing, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” As the music plays, we put out music boxes, set up the manger scene, and put up the tree.
My personal favorite part is the ornaments. From the time the girls were born, I have bought them a tree ornament every year. Special people have also given them ornaments, and we still have the ornaments the girls have made, too. Some are tattered and worn, but each carries a special memory. We remember each of those memories as we place the ornaments on the tree. Through this tradition, we visit our special people (some of whom are no longer with us) and those special times, even if only for a few moments. We end the night by turning on the tree lights, drinking hot chocolate, and just being together.
We have many more family traditions throughout the year, but none are more special than this one as we are preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
1 gallon apple cider or juice
1 quart orange juice
1 quart pineapple juice
1 c. lemon juice
24 whole cloves
4 sticks cinnamon
1 c. sugar
Combine all ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain cinnamon and cloves, and serve warm. Makes 1.5 gallons.