From Where I Stand {Christmas Traditions}


I put up the Christmas decorations today. I always wait to decorate the house and listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. My mom always waited, so like most things I do, I follow in my mom’s footsteps.  I do believe over the years, the holidays arrive earlier and earlier. I now see Christmas lights out right after Halloween. And don’t get me started on the earlier Black Friday start times….

Here is Kherington pointing to her letter K ornament. I was surprised that right after she noticed the K, she looked around and said, “Where’s H?”  That was the first time that she put those two letters together without my help, the start of her name!  I’m a proud momma right now!


I decorated the tree during her nap. When she came out, she was full of “wow’s” and said “pretty tree.” Then she of course kissed many of the ornaments. Last year when she first saw the tree, she stared at it for about 5 minutes and kept saying, “Wow!” over and over again. We are a fake tree family – Brett’s choice. His family had fake trees while my family always did the big family outing to cut down the real tree. Even though my sister is allergic, she always insisted (and still does on the real one).  It Brett wants a fake one, then he’s in charge of setting it up and fluffing it.  I asked him if he ever wants to get a real one, and he said, “Never. Too much work.”  So today as he is figuring out what color branches we leave out (the bottom row) and digging out gloves so he doesn’t get all scratched up, I say, “Are you sure this isn’t more work then cutting one down!?”  Nope. And then he comments that he should be putting up a life size manger scene with animals rather than a dumb tree. Ha!

My favorite part of our decorated house is this little Christmas tree. I have been collecting the Precious Moments ornaments since I was 3 years old. (I have every one since 1989, plus Our First Christmas 2008, and Baby’s First Christmas 1986 and 2011, for myself and Kherington). I just added 2013 to my Christmas list that Brett’s been bugging me to make for him!


As I think back to my childhood Christmas celebrations and traditions in central Pennsylvania, the most memorable moments did not have to do with snow (which we got a lot of), snow sledding (which we had awesome hills for), or opening gifts (which now after watching home videos of my older sister, Laureann, and I surrounding by presents, we realized, “Wow, we were spoiled brats who did not appreciate our parents’ sacrifices!!!”)   No, the place that we spent almost every Christmas was surrounded by palm trees, sunshine, and swimming…..Florida! My Gramma and PaPa Adsit live in Florida, and as many Christmas breaks as I can remember were spent with them.

My family would open our gifts a day or two before Christmas Day. L and I of course were up before my parents, and we couldn’t go downstairs. So once we woke them up, we would sit on the steps until they were ready for us to come into the family room. Mom would turn on Christmas music and pour everyone a glass of Egg Nog, while Dad was setting up the massive camcorder to tape our reactions to opening presents (aka the spoiled brat moments – one year I opened up a notebook and said, “Why did you buy me this?” Yikes!)  We would come into the living room, ooh and ahh, and then sit down to read Luke 2:1-14, a special tradition Brett and I have kept.  My mom would buy us pajamas every year for Christmas, so L’s idea was to wear the pajamas we received the year before.  I have either bought or received pajama pants the past few year and I still do this tradition!  Wearing the same pajamas Christmas morning is a big no-no! 🙂

Once we finished opening presents, we immediately packed up the van or cool Taurus station wagon that my dad would receive as his company car, and down south we headed surrounded by all our new toys we just opened.

The car trip had its own memories.  In the station wagon, our biggest cooler would be placed in the middle of the seat between L and me.  Most the trip, we were either playing our Game Boy, reading a book, or trying to sleep while shoving the cooler back and forth and arguing over whose side it was more on.  Ha!  I’m surprised my parents didn’t want to leave us “home alone” some years.  I remember one year we packed up our van and started towards warmer weather.  We had a small TV which my dad hooked up to our massive camcorder so L and I could watch VHS Disney movies during the trip.  We were probably enjoying a movie when Dad pulled over at a gas station to look over the van. Something was wrong with it. I vividly remember sitting in the van praying that it wasn’t serious. Well, God wanted us home that year, because the van wasn’t going to make the trip so we turned around for home!

This picture was taken in December of 1999 in Florida.

L and me beach

Christmas was one of the few times we would see my grandparents since they lived so far away. My Grandpa and Grandma Osenni lives at Myrtle Beach, SC during the winter, and sometimes we would stop on the way home from Florida to stay with them for a couple days. I remember being in their hotel apartment one year for New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, once Laureann and I went to college we stopped the Florida Christmas tradition.  However, for the past 2 years in February my parents made room in their van for Kherington and myself to spend time in Florida to see my Gramma and PaPa.  So maybe that will be a new tradition! 🙂

Since Brett and I have been married, we have our own Christmas morning (even though it may not actually be on Christmas Day like when I was a kid). I make a breakfast casserole that bakes in the oven while we open gifts. As I said before, we read Luke 2  to remember the real reason why we even celebrate Christmas, which can be so easy to get lost in the busyness and gifts of the season. Since we do not have a fireplace (a must in our next house since I grew up with a real one), we put in a DVD that plays music and shows a fake fire!  The fire slowly dies as the music plays; it even crackles! Love it!

Our first Christmas in our apartment as newlyweds, 2008


We then divide up the week and spend time with Brett’s family and a few days with my family at my parents in Illinois now (was Cincinnati the last 8 years). Of course, it’s more about the grandkids now!  And yes, L and I even put Carter, Caden, and Kherington in “last year’s” pajamas (meaning the pajamas we bought on sale at the end of last year to fit the kids this year! hehe!) Gotta keep the traditions going, right?


Kherington is still pretty young and does not understand who Jesus is and what “Christ”mas is truly about. However, as our family grows (numerically and physically), I’m excited to start our own family Christmas traditions that primarily focus on Jesus Christ, the perfect Gift of all (like the life size manger scene Brett wants! 🙂

I know this was pretty lengthy, but even if not very many people read it, I can always come back to this post to remember my Christmas traditions.  I joined a “circle blog” with friends, which we named From Where I Stand.  So if you are looking for ideas or want to hear more about my friend Megan’s Christmas traditions, check her out: Megs Five