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Growing the ‘Christmas Legacy’ year after year

“For Christmas is tradition time — traditions that recall the precious memories down the years, the sameness of them all.” – Helen Lowrie Marshall

Time for us is not infinite, but we all have a choice on how we allocate it. Some may squander it, while others create and build precious moments and traditions.

During the Christmas season, many of us have enjoyed various family traditions that help celebrate the birth of Christ. These can have a lasting impact, which, for many, may span the generations. I have labeled them, “The Christmas Legacy.”

They may range from attending church, decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping gifts (I recollect how my family would carefully attempt to save the wrapping paper for next year. I suspect that this dated back to the Depression era or beyond.), singing and listening to long-established songs and hymns, watching a specific movie, preparing a meal, or a multitude of other activities.

As for the Paul Family, we have celebrated Christmas by following traditions that have been handed down to us. For example, one of our Christmas traditions is gathering together and enjoying homemade ravioli and sauce. When doing this, I have transitioned to a new style of making ravioli. When maneuvering the dough over the meatball, sometimes I now shape it into various faces: elephant, alien, smiley faces, etc. So, when individuals enjoy them, they know who the designer was.

Another tradition is decorating the Christmas tree. We have always celebrated with a real tree. Items on display are ornaments created by our children or given as gifts from others. When placing ornaments individually, such as silver icicles, it usually hearkens back to when I was a youngster in Caspian, Michigan. At my parents’ home, we would also place icicles on the trees, but they were made of very thin aluminum and brittle. Money in those days was scarce, so at the culmination of Christmas, to stretch the dollar, we would painstakingly remove the fragile icicles and attempt to save them for the following year.

Lastly, decorating the exterior of my own home began in 1977, and we have never strayed from it, even after moving two times. It began with a few figures and lights that my children helped set up, and over time mushroomed to over 60 figures and a few thousand lights. I vividly recall the occasional frustration that would ensue when after checking and rechecking all of the figures and lights, we would then create the scenes, and some figures/lights did not work properly or at all. Even though the scenes are not as plentiful and ornate as they once were, we still enjoy doing it — so much so that one of my sons continues the tradition at his own home.

The following are a few suggestions for creating your own Christmas Legacy. These may spur your imagination to come up with some of your own ideas.

Community Service Project – Volunteer your family to participate in helping various community organizations, such as collecting money or canned items for the less fortunate.

Homemade Christmas Cards – Set aside a special time where individuals can create personalized Christmas cards. These are vastly more appreciated and cherished.

Create Unique Christmas Ornaments – These, once completed and displayed, may stay in the family for generations.

Outside Activities – Perhaps you can participate in activities outside in the snow, such as athletic events, snow figures, and other designs.

In conclusion, the positive and personal time in following and creating new family traditions and memories could carry on for future decades, thus impacting lives by creating “Christmas Legacies.”

As Christmas approaches, let us remind ourselves that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” From the Paul family to all of you, merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year!

“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as much as opening our hearts.” – Janice Maeditere

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Daniel J. Paul is a retired school administrator. His columns focus on education, old-fashioned family values, relationships, and other topics. To submit comments or find archived columns, go to meaningfuldifferences.net.

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