North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

December 19, 2012

Danielle Pelkey: Traditions add to the magic of the season

By Danielle Pelkey
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — When you think about Christmas, your mind may wonder to a million different things, but each one is a memory that you have stored away so that you could revisit it in your mind.

I absolutely love all of the traditions of Christmas. Traditions usually just get in the way of happiness, but when it comes to Christmas, tradition is one of the things that makes it such a magical time of year.

Many families find a great tradition in going to a Christmas tree farm or an open field and choosing just the right tree for their holiday decorating. Some make it a point to pick out the perfect tree, while others find great pleasure in choosing the ugliest, saddest tree on the farm.

Another tradition that seems to find it’s way into many households is the Elf on the Shelf. This little sinister elf makes a habit of causing messes and misplacing important things while children are nestled, all snug in their beds. The kids awake every morning with excitement to see just what their elf has gotten into the night before. I’ve seen elves who rolled houses, baked cookies and left the mess behind, hung from ceiling fans and even one who ate daddy’s piece of cake right out of the refrigerator.

If an Elf on the Shelf isn’t really the type of traditions you’re used to in your family, then maybe you would connect better with the traditions of listening to Christmas music while sipping on egg nog and decorating the tree. Or perhaps you look forward to your church midnight Christmas Eve service every year with your family by your side.

On the gift-giving side of things, our family always gets to open one gift the night before Christmas. This gift is always a set of pajamas that are carefully chosen by my mother. Most of the time they were matching pajamas, even up into our teenage years. We were sporting our rubber ducky pajamas on my sixteenth Christmas and I still have those pajamas today. One year, at the ripe old age of about 20, I decided that I really wanted a set of footed pajamas for the night before Christmas, and my sainted mother shopped up every store until she found some. The new PJs also make for cute Christmas morning pictures.

My absolute favorite tradition that has been passed down from my parents, and will continue to be passed down, is the tradition of reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning... not the one about Santa, but the real story found in Luke chapter two. We wake up on Christmas and before the first gift is touched, we reflect on what this day is all about. We read about the birth of Christ, the shepherds in the field and the way that Mary pondered all of these things in her heart. We say a prayer and then head out to destroy some pretty wrapping paper and then on to family Christmas parties.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, don’t take even one minute of this season for granted. And if you don’t have any traditions that make you happy, start a new tradition this year. It’s never too late to start something new and the memories will last a lifetime.