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The ADVENT season was a great time to be with my family and friends this year.  My wife and I have tried very hard over the years to have Christmas traditions of our own.  It’s something that I think has been especially important for her and at the same time hasn’t come easy.  When you think of traditions it conjures up images of Norman Rockwell paintings.  It’s a trap that I have fallen into many times over the years and as a parent can leave you feeling defeated.  I can remember times when the kids were little and trying to put up the tree.  Decorations, Christmas music, hot cocoa – you get the picture.  Well reality; about a ten minute attention span intervened by a sugar rush.  I’m not going to lie – it was tough with two little boys.  I think the best we were able to do in the way of traditions in those days was going to the tree farm to cut down the tree.  We would hike around looking for the perfect tree, have the Clark Griswold like angelic illuminated moment when it was found, and a ceremonial “Timmmmmbeeeeerrrrrr”.

This year, we took another run at the ADVENT calendar.  Every day in December there was a different activity to do as a family.  Some days we coordinated the fun with some other families so we could do things together.  Some of the highlights this year:

Purchase a Christmas album
Work on a puzzle together.
Play Texas Hold’em at the Odell farm
Christmas party around the fire pit in the back yard
Christmas cookie exchange
Ginger bread house decorating contest
Ornament exchange
Line dancing at the Odell farm
See A Christmas Carol play (my personal favorite)
Christmas gift shopping as a family
One night stay-cation (Gaylord Palms)

We stayed very busy this year with something to do every day, but it was well worth it in relationship and in tradition making.  We even broke a tradition (I had a hard time with that) this year and opened our gifts on Christmas eve.  The teenagers slept in on Christmas morning and we did stockings when they woke up.  It worked out great!  After the stocking my wife shared some things she had learned from her devotions this month, and we all prayed as a family.  What a sweet way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Afterwards, Christmas morning Eggs Benedict breakfast.

So yes, even when it seems the boys are all grown up traditions can be made.  You have to just keep trying and just keep loving.  Merry Christmas!