The Wonder of Christmas Traditions in our House

Christmas is a very special time for us, not only because of time spent with friends and family, but more so for the “Gift” the season represents to us in Jesus Christ.    

    

We take extra time decorating our house with numerous trees (seven trees last year to be exact), as well as garland, stockings, lights, and knickknacks that we’ve accumulated over the years. We turn our home into a miniature Biltmore Estate. There are old Hallmark Rocking Horse ornaments my wife has collected. We have mangers and organic animal ornaments made of wood, pine cones, and straw that I’ve found here and there. Thomas Kinkade and Dickens Villages, train sets, wreaths, bows, angels, snowmen, and reindeer round out our hodgepodge of Yuletide decorations  

To say I enjoy the holidays is an understatement. If it were up to me, I’d start decorating for Christmas around Halloween and leave them up until April just in time for Easter. There’s just something about this time of year that still feels magical to me. The air is crisp with anticipation of things to come. People (no matter how stressed) seem to take an extra second to greet people in passing. Our home is filled with seasonal music and warm and inviting fragrances. Friends and family drop by just to spread Christmas Cheer.   

As a military kid, Christmas was the one time of year my family really pushed hard to all be together. Aunts, uncles, and cousins came from far and wide. We took road trips to my grandparents house (which wasn’t always the best mode of travel with smelly, energetic siblings inside “The Family Truckster). We even had fly-ins with a white Christmas tree when we lived in Hawaii. All fond memories!   

As I’ve grown and had a family of my own, we’ve taken parts from our past and added events and activities we’ve grown to love, combining them into our own holiday traditions  

Each year (time permitting) we make a trip or two to Biltmore in Asheville, NC to see the Estate in all its seasonal splendor. Fifty-five trees are painstakingly decorated by a team of artists (some as tall as 35 feet). Decor, wine, flowers, lights, food, and evergreens are skillfully tied together. These decorations, coupled with the orchestra performing via candlelight amongst massive poinsettias, is an awe-inspiring event. Something about experiencing this just screams “Christmas Past.”  

Another event near and dear to our festive hearts is Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you’ve never been, you’re truly missing out. They are an edgy modern rock juggernaut consisting of electric guitars, keyboards, stringed instruments, and killer vocals. The light show with lasers, "enough pyro to be seen from the International Space Station," moving stages, video screens, and special effects are synchronized to music and narrated in their “The Lost Christmas Eve” show format. It's truly amazing how they can blend so many genres together creating a rock opera that just works. Their music has been heard and featured worldwide and for several months each year the band is on extensive tour. A definite must-see. 

In between concerts or travels there is always time to throw on pajamas, take a ride and look at lights, bake cookies, visit Hollywild (a local petting zoo that decorates and has drive-thru touring and bonfires), Toys for Tots, “Bell Ringing” or go shopping.  

With so much going on during this time of year, little things can be lost. As you can tell by the wordiness of this blog, Christmas is a very busy and exciting time for us. But I don’t want to lose the joy that is shared with the crackling of a fire, hot chocolate, dressing up our puppies, and friends coming in from Kenya, Tanzania, or Romania to help decorate their first Christmas tree.   

Taking time to share our home, customs, and beliefs far exceeds any travels or events we could ever attend. God’s Gift is one we aim to share daily  and we continue to spread His good graces at Christmas.   

God bless and Merry Christmas to all.  

Mike

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