Sunday, April 7, 2013

Building Traditions

I grew up surrounded by cookies baking at Christmas time.  In our family, we have continued this to a degree, but recent years have seen some skimpy cookie plates.  I excuse this, and every other place where I come up lacking, with the pregnany and/or infant line.  This year, despite the infant, I was determined to instill Christmas baking in my older children.  Fortunately for me, Nick can see when I am determined, and he supports me to the finish line.
 The cookie plates were pretty good, I'd say.  They had our traditional almond cookies (great grandma's recipe), gingersnaps, and toffee bars, but the winner this year seemed to be the brownies baked in a muffin tin with a surprise mint Oreo in the middle.
 I took the kids to see some reindeer at a local nursery.  They are pretty impressive beasts.  I believe that the one pictured below in Donner.

Remember the good old days before digital photography?  Anyone?  Remember when some pictures would turn out like this... a mixture of two shots, double-exposed?  I've never seen that happen with my digital camera before.  I suppose it had to do with Donner and Santa and the magic of Christmas somehow.
One other tradition that we do every year is to take the kids to a Creche display.  Our church building hosts a beautiful version where they decorate the gym with trees and lights and poinsettias and have every form of a nativity they could borrow displayed on tables.  The gym is a full-size basketball court, and most nativities are pretty small.  There must be thousands of sets, as they are pretty tightly packed in together.  Each one is intriguing, many being from different countries or passed down through generations.  They also set up a large room with Christmas crafts for children, another as a studio with a manger scene backdrop and dress-up clothes to act the part of Mary, Joseph, Angel, etc. for a picture, as well as a room full of cookies.  You can guess which is every child's favorite.  The chapel, which opens to the gym with the displays, has beautiful live music.  Many people just sit there and listen for a long time.  I'm sure I'll do that when the kids are a little older.  The kids really looked forward to that this year, and I feel that it helps us keep the non-religious side of Christmas in balance.

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