Christmas Traditions Old and New

Traditions endure as heart-connections between and amongst the generations. Yet, there is also room for making new ones, especially in times where change is called for. For us, the restrictions imposed by COVID have enriched our lives, making us more aware of our blessings and encouraging us to adapt in ways that have strengthened our relationships.

The oldest tradition and the first thing that goes up every year is the 30 year old Nativity Scene I made from slip (the liquid beginnings of ceramic), shortly after my youngest was born. We use recipes from my childhood hand-written by my grandmother or marked in her baking book — the one that weighs everything instead of measures it.

Our house smells wonderful. The scent of ginger, raisins, chocolate and sugar fill the air. My daughters have taken up the mantle and each bake a portion of the over 12 annual Christmas cookies, breads and candies I used to make. I still bake a portion of the standbys, but am also adding shortbread and biscotti and… a huge learning curve… Italian Macaroons, to our array this year.

The biggest new thing — my husband is baking with me! Amazing. It has been a wonderful Advent. In addition to new recipes, we have altered the way in which we gather. We are having several small intimate gatherings rather than one large one this year. It spreads out the work as well as allows for more personal interaction, especially with the grandchildren.

What traditions endure in your household? What new traditions are you starting this year? Are you finding your life enriched in any way by the need to change? Or are you feeling strained by the restrictions and need more prayers and outreach from others? Please share.

My thoughts and prayers go with you all.


  1. Merry Christmas!
    We have some wonderful traditions. Every Christmas eve, after, Mass, Ronnie reads the Christmas story by Luke for the family. That always makes me feel happy.
    We have some of my Mother’s recipes we use. We have date stix with dates and nuts which are super easy. I can still see my Mother helping dust the date stix with powdered sugar.
    So some of our traditions remember earlier times. We also have at least one new one. David wraps everything in foil. One year, he ran out of wrapping paper, so he used foil. The foil is now David’s wrapping paper of choice…from the dollar store.
    I hope you and yours have a wonderful, blessed Christmas and make more fun memories.


  2. Your Nativity is beautiful and that table full of cookies is calling my name! I think we are all the happiest shopping can learn to change and embrace new traditions. Thank you for this sweet encouragement.


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