Saturday, November 19, 2022

December and Christmas Traditions When You're Catholic

 About 10 years ago, I wrote an article called "10 Special Christmas Traditions" and it was published in maybe a dozen or so regional parenting publications in the US (then I parked the text here on the blog). Now that the kids are so much older, there are several that have dropped off, and I'd like to start including some different ones and start incorporating our Catholic faith a bit more. 

For instance, we still look at Christmas lights, but with teens' work and social schedules, sometimes that has to happen AFTER Christmas. The Letter to Santa tradition has morphed into the Add to Your Amazon Wish List tradition 🙄 We don't have the kids go sit on Santa's lap anymore (last time they pretty much just stood), but we could definitely handle some more volunteer work and helping others (just today my husband and three of the kids helped demo a bathroom at an old convent and loved it!).

December 6th is my fourth child's birthday, and she'll be 15 this year (able to get her driving permit in our state and possibly able to get a job—if her dad says okay). It's also the feast day of St. Nicholas, and I only learned a few years ago about putting treats in kids' shoes. I'm a convert, and my husband either never knew or doesn't remember a lot of this stuff; I don't think his family ever did this shoe thing. Here's a link at Catholic Icing with ideas for gifts to put in the shoes.

December 8th is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and a holy day of obligation, which means we go to Mass. Here's more information about the real meaning of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and also a craft.

December 12th is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and we do love our Mexican heritage around here. I fell in love with speaking Spanish long ago, and our second son Michael (Miguelito) flew through dual-credit Spanish I in college and is going back for more, happily. I think it's cool that the Spanish speakers at the restaurant where he works ask to speak to him on the phone when they want something understood (like they left something at work and need it put in their locker)😁 This is a new one we're adding to our December Traditions lineup (I know, like we need more to remember and do), and it's going to be as simple as having tacos for dinner that night 🤷 When we are able to step it up a little bit, I'm parking this link to Catholic Icing for some more ideas for celebrating this feast day.

December 13th — How did I not know that the feast day of St. Lucy is huge in Swedish culture?! I really don't think I'll be making these saffron buns anytime soon, but I'll park the recipe here just in case. And here are more fun ideas for celebrating. Otherwise, to keep it simple, maybe we'll just go look at lights that night.

December 24th (Christmas Eve) — I think I went to Midnight Mass with my husband's family once (and this is before we were even married, I think, and maybe before I even converted) and quite possibly said, "Never again!" Nah, I remember thinking it was beautiful (I think we went to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Shawnee, KS), but once we had kids and tried to go to Mass anytime past 10 p.m., it was a disaster. Anyway, we always attend Mass on Christmas Eve and get a lovely family photo in front of the altar.

December 25th (Christmas Day!) — This is the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. At one time, it was a bit stressful trying to get several places on this one day with little ones, but then we decided no more and we've pretty much stayed home to celebrate ever since. This includes sweatpants; a breakfast consisting of cinnamon rolls (Boy Scout-made rolls when our son was in Scouts, but now just store-bought in a roll), orange juice, coffee, and an egg bake; opening stockings first; presents after breakfast (one at a time so I can savor it, please!); and basking in each other's presence (and each other's presents LOL).

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