Donna’s Holiday Traditions

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FamilyTo me, the holidays are all about rejoicing to my higher power, giving, and family. No matter how busy I am or how overwhelming decorating or getting ready for the holidays can be, with every ornament I hang, every light I string, every present I wrap, I get more and more excited. These experiences awaken that little girl inside of me!

When I was a little girl, my 6 brothers and sisters and I would get up at 4 a.m. We would wake each other up and just sit and look at the tree with all of the presents under it until we couldn’t wait any longer, and then we’d wake up Mom and Dad.

When Mark and I met, my family introduced him to this tradition. Well, after 33 years of marriage, Mark and I still get up at 4 a.m. on Christmas morning and do the very same thing.

That’s how traditions start in families. Our family tradition started with 9 people and now we have over 70 family members celebrating in the same manner.

My family has another tradition now, too. As we continue to grow (no home is large enough to accommodate all of us), every year we get together and rent out a hotel the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s. Every family member has their own room, and we rent the party room, have a card tournament, and play games. On Saturday, we have our father welcome everyone, and we do cheers to good health and happiness, eat our lunch, and all open gifts. Santa comes to visit the little kids, and we put all of our presents under our tree. Candles flicker and music weaves in the background as we partake in a White Elephant gift exchange – everyone participates in this activity.

We also have contests every year for the children! States and capitals, U.S. Presidents, reciting the Our Father and Hail Mary, family history, etc. We play all sorts of games like tying a marshmallow at the bottom of string and attempting to get the marshmallow in your mouth without using your hands, carrying an egg on a spoon without dropping it, indoor washers, and bocce ball. And to top the weekend off, if the Green Bay Packers are playing that Sunday, we all put on our Packers garb and watch the game together. That activity is more fun when the Packers win!

I’m so grateful for my family, but I realize that many people don’t have or aren’t interested in celebrating together. That’s cool, too! But as Clarence reminded George in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” – “Dear George, remember, no person is a failure who has friends. P. S. Thanks for the wings!”

Remember, MSPs, I will always be your friend!

What are your family traditions for the holidays?

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