Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Traditions of Christmas

I think that at this time of year, more than any other, I am mindful of my childhood. Wonderful memories of Christmas traditions abound, transporting me back in time. A much simpler time, when I had few worries or demands, and life was predictable. As a child, Christmas was very predictable for our family. I think about my own children, as we try to establish traditions. It has been hard, and traditions have changed every few years it seems, due to moving or loved ones that have passed during my children's lives.

The song playing on my Playlist, "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem," takes me back to Beaverdam Freewill Baptist, my paternal grandparent's church. In my mind, I can hear the quartet singing in a long drawn-out country accent ....."shine on, shine on!"

My mom was one of seven children and my dad was one of eight. Both grandparent's homes would be overflowing with family gathering at Christmas, but they never seemed crowded, rather warm and cozy.

On Christmas Eve night, we celebrated at Grandma B.'s house. During the hour ride home, I would lie crossways in the back window of dad's big Ford car, searching the sky for Santa. (This of course, was before seat belts! ) An hour seemed like an eternity as a child, especially one filled with anticipation of gifts to come. My dad would give updates from the front seat as he drove ahead, and I would try to take shallow breaths, so that I didn't fog up the rear window. I didn't want to miss Santa and his reindeer, should they happen upon our path.

Before going to bed, we were allowed to pick one present from under the tree to open. I had the uncanny knack of never choosing a cool, fun toy. Rather my choice was always unwrapped to reveal PJ's or some other piece of clothing. I have to laugh about it now, but at the time it was far from funny.

Gifts from my grandparent's was predictable, as well. My Grandma B. gave us each a small box, about the size of a shoebox, filled with little items that she shopped for and saved throughout the year. She put a lot of thought in each item. From Grandma M., we each got two pairs of underwear, but they were good brands. :) When I was young I didn't appreciate them as well as I probably should have. But as I got older and started buying my own, my gratitude increased.



For a moment, I find myself sad, that I can't be young again, and go back to those predictable, yet wonderful and magical Christmases past. I want to be six, and climb in the back of that car window one more time, and worry about nothing but Santa. And those that I loved, my dear grandparents, are gone now. Their homes are no longer the same, though still standing. But then, I think of my own children, and how I want them to have wonderful family traditions, that I hope they reflect fondly on. I think of all the happy memories we have already had as a family and look forward to future ones. I am then glad that time moves on.

Our preacher shared a verse referring to TRADITIONS, Sunday...

"Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." Joel 1:3

38 comments:

Amelia said...

Such a wonderful recollection of Christmas past through the eyes of a child...no worries or fears...what an memorable time.

You are making memories for your children now...they may not realize it or appreciate it...but in time they will.

Merry Christmas!

Pam said...

What beautiful memories. Reminds of me standing beside my Daddy in his truck looking out the back window! And being at Grandma's on Christmas day. It too never seemed crowded but looking back it was a very small home! Precious times Thanks for helping me remember!
Merry Christmas

mysteryhistorymom said...

Beautifully written, Sweetie.:) What a gift to be able to step back in time, if only for a moment.... Lori

Darlene said...

What a wonderful reflection of your Christmas traditions. I remember riding in the back windows of the car many, many times! I can't even imagine that now! We are working hard on traditions with Lexi so she can have wonderful memories as I have. Her favorite tradition so far, is going to look at Christmas lights and she has asked several times now "when are we going to see the lights"?

Bo said...

Rhonda, This was so beautifully written I could see you as that little girl in your Daddy's big Ford...I'm sure you have built many wonderful memories your children will cherish and share with their own children someday...
;-) Bo

Penless Thoughts said...

Wonderful thoughts and a sweet read, Rhonda. I'm sure your children are piling up many wonderful Christmas memories.
Susan

Michelle said...

A beautiful written post that captures yours and so many of our Christmas traditions too...there is nothing like being a child or having a child at Christmas time...it fills the world with the goodness and hope that we all need now!

Merry Christmas to you and your family...

Kristen said...

What get memories to have and to share. Thanks for the reflections and song

onlymehere said...

So beautifully written. I'm going to come back to hear the song bz my speakers are being funky right now. I wanted to tell you to that I love the picture on your side bar of Santa with his flat!! Too funny. I wish too I could go back sometimes but then I think of how much better it is with my children around me and the joy that Christmas now brings. If my family had been closer it might be different. The important thing is I changed the cycle and my kids have a far different life than I did as a child. Once again, beautifully written Scooter!!

Sincerely Yours said...

Hi Rhonda! Love that you shared these memories with us! I too sometimes feel the sadness of not being able to go back! Often I've wondered if the memories we created were special enough and then my daughter will say "remember when you used to..." and I know I did ok! This post triggered a lot of happy memories! Thank you - Sincerely, Jeannette

Smilingsal said...

As a child, we were allowed to pick one present too, and we have passed that on. Now, my grandchildren choose one present to open Christmas Eve. I love family traditions!

Melissa Wertz said...

Beautiful post Rhonda. Wonderful Traditions.

I have something for you. Stop by my blog when you get a chance.

Dawn said...

Rhonda that was so beautifully written that it brought tears to my eyes. I remember so many things about my childhood Christmas and what I miss the most is my father and grandmother!

We got to pick one present too. I remember one year my sister got one of my old dolls as a joke...she still doesn't think that was as funny as the rest of us!

take care,
Dawn

nikkicrumpet said...

I love the image of you in the back window of the car staring at the sky...what a lovely story of Christmas past!

ceekay said...

I always get weepy right about now before Christmas...as I am now. When you spoke of riding in the car. I remember...late 50's, early 60's when my dad was still alive, we would go to my grandparents home for Christmas Eve. Driving home, I would hide by the hump in the back seat of that old car....why??? so Santa wouldn't see that I was still up and would think me naughtly. I don't remember much from my childhood, but I remember that clearly as if it were yesterday. I loved your post!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

A beautiful Christmas post, Rhonda. Thank you for sharing your memories!

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Rhonda,
This is such a sweet post. What a treasure to have so many pleasant and happy memories.

Thanks for sharing them with us all!
I love the song!

Diane

Patti said...

Rhonda~ I loved your post(it sounds a little like mine-kind of wistful-lol) and your wonderful memories. I too have similar ones. I so wish we appreciated what we had when we had it- when now all we have are the memories. Traditions, like life, tend to travel full circle and things you may think are no big deal will become cherished memories by your children as they get older. Thanks for sharing and have a good rest of the week!
Take care! Patti

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Great post Rhonda . It is so wonderful to have memories,especially good ones.

ellen b. said...

I love this post Rhonda. I can relate to big family gatherings, Baptist Church Christmas programs, and that ride home.You and I grew up in the same era. The era of no seatbelts!! I would lay in the back window shelf of the car on the way home and fall asleep!!

Shelia said...

Oh, Rhonda, how sweet! I did some of the same things you did! You brought back some sweet memories to me! Thank you, my friend.
BE a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Kimberly said...

Rhonda: thank you for sharing your memories. I really enjoyed reading your post. Merry Christmas, Kimberly

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Such sweet memories, Rhonda! I enjoyed reading this SO much. My cousin and I would lie awake and listen for hoofbeats on the roof! ;-)

XO,

Sheila

laurie said...

Such a beautiful story, and such wonderful memories. Your memories triggered so many memories for others. My children never seemed to even notice that we were creating traditions, but now that they are grown, they call to me ask me how to do something that we always did at Christmas time, and I see that our traditions DID make a difference. You will too some day. laurie

Deb said...

I can remember the days of climbing in the back window. Such a simple time, too bad we can't go back. But God is good to give us a memory, that we can go back and remember from where He's brought us and to be thankful to be alive. Deb

Mary Kay Andrews said...

Hi Rhonda. I just found your blog through my google alerts. Thank you for sharing your enjoyment of my books--and for your inspiration words today. I've got a Christmas giveaway going on my blog right now--you can win an autographed set of my Savannah trilogy. C'mon over! All best, MKA

Monogram Queen said...

I love to remember Christmas past... sweet sweet memories!

Nancy said...

Rhonda, This is a great post! I think we all still have some child in us at Christmas. Nothing like being a child! nancy

Susie Harris said...

I love to hear about Christmas stories and yours mine friend just touched my heart. I too remember geting into the back of the car window. If our parents only knew. My Mother had one of those huge Thunderbirds. A man hit us one night as we were coming home from dance class. Thank goodness we were in our seat.
Your memories sound so sweet.You are doing such a precious thing to pass them down to your little ones. Thanks for sharing your Christmas past with us. May your Chritmas future be just as special~

Liz said...

Such a sweet memory. I love our traditions. You gave me a lump in my throat!

~Liz

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Rhonda, I am finally catching up on your posts and all your fabulous pictures! Your Christmas decorations are beautiful as is the remodel and your trash-to-treasure finds. And I LOVE those ribboned frames!

I enjoy hearing about your traditions. I have fond memories of Christmas with my grandparents. I don't feel like we've really set up many traditions for my son to enjoy so I need to work on that.

Merry Christmas to you!!

ivoryspring said...

What a wonderful post, Rhonda! Christmas blessings to you and yours!!!

Love that Christmas tree of yours!

It's All Good! said...

I, too, am so thankful for wonderful memories I had as a child.
Wow, your folks had big families. What fun it had to be getting together with everyone!
Merry Christmas,
Brenda :)

Beverly said...

I am an only child, so Christmas was always me and my parents. I miss my father so much during the holidays. Now, I just might have to have myself a good cry.

Happy Holidays and making memories with your family.

GARAGE SALE GAL said...

Good memories of Christmas:)
Awesome Texaco sign...we like old signs and have a couple.
Came by to say:
Merry Christmas Rhonda!!
Warmly,
Deb

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

What a lovely story Rhonda...I especially love the part about the shallow breaths so you didn't fog the window and miss Santa. :-) A kid in a back window would get cha pulled over and a big fat ticket these days. I think the roads were safer back then...at least I don't remember so many wrecks as we see and hear about now. You hold onto those memories...neither time nor change can ever take those away from you...they are yours forever! Susan

Melissa Miller said...

How lovely. I have teary eyes....
Have a wonderful weekend. ~Melissa :)

onlymehere said...

Just checking in to say hi. I hope you're having a great holiday season! Merry Christmas dear friend!