Many parents wonder how to instill their children with the true meaning of Christmas, how to compete with the excitement of Santa, the jingle bell rocks, the 'stuff' that Christmas has become. This is the story of how my sister sidestepped all the hustle and bustle of Christmas when her boys were young.
Merry Christmas, All.
May your season be filled with traditions that light up the faces you love!
The best family food traditions are all about family and tradition and little about food, a lesson hard-learned from my ever-wise sister, Adanna.
When her now-strapping teenboys were little tikes, she introduced the family to the Christmas Eve tradition of celebrating Jesus’ birthday complete with cake and candles and party hats and a round of the Happy Birthday song.
One year, I went to considerable effort to bake a fancy cake with good chocolate and toasted nuts and artful icing. It was good and all but really, nothing memorable.
The next year, late on Christmas Eve, my sister picked up some gaudy, gooey, sugary, frosting-thick cake from the supermarket bakery. (Yes. You can tell, right? It’s true. I admit it! I didn’t approve.)
That night, we gathered round the table, carols quiet in the background. The boys lit the candles atop the cake one by one. We joined hands to sing ‘Happy biiiirtttttthday, dear Jeeeeesus’ in loud, clear voices.
After a brief squabble over who’d blow out the candles, we sliced the cake and added big scoops of ice cream.
I took an unwilling bite, sure it would be awful.
Then I looked up, seeing with wet eyes the smiles on everyone’s faces, the tree lights reflecting in the windows, and understood with new wisdom the real meaning of family traditions.
It was the best cake ever. I ate every bite.
Kids & The Christmas Story
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