Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Traditions: IMAX, Ornaments and Bingo

I am on family vacation for the holiday, but while I'm gone, you are in for a treat from some sweet friends. They're sharing their Christmas traditions with us! If you missed one, click here to catch up. Happy reading!
By Misty Gatlin

I didn’t grow up with a lot of Christmas traditions.  In fact, I didn’t grow up with a lot of any kind of tradition, so I guess that’s why I’m determined to have many meaningful traditions for my family.  My husband and I have 2 children, ages 2 ½ and 6.  Our traditions are fairly new, and it seems we keep adding new ones each year.

This year, we decided to start putting up our decorations the day after Thanksgiving.  I know that sounds fairly conventional, but I’ve always been one to wait until a week or two before Christmas.  We refuse to play Christmas music until Thanksgiving has passed.  We are firm believers in celebrating both holidays separately and don’t want to rush Christmas.  I think we all have the same love of Christmas music, so it seems like we are itching to turn it on as soon as we wake up that Friday.  It blares throughout our house as we decorate, and we watch The Polar Express on Friday night. 

When I was young, I read The Polar Express, and I fell in love with every part of it.  It stayed with me even though I had never heard of it again until 2004 when the movie came out.  My husband and I, who had no children at the time, were first in line to see it at the IMAX in 3D.  It was everything I had remembered from the book and more.  I knew at that moment this story would become special to our family.

 The second weekend of December is dedicated to The Polar Express.  We head out to the Omni Theater on Saturday morning donning our favorite pajamas and watch the movie after drinking a warm cup of hot chocolate.  For those not in this area, the Omni Theater is a dome-shaped, IMAX theater where you literally feel you are in the movie.  This year is the first our littlest one gets to go, so we’re all excited to go as a whole family this time around.
Another tradition we have is that our children get a new ornament every Christmas, and they get to add it to their own, personal Christmas tree.  Usually the ornament represents something they both love at the time (example: motorcycle, monster truck, princess, God Rocks, etc).

On Christmas day, we wake up and open presents, and then we drive a few hours to visit extended family for lunch, presents, and the one and only tradition – bingo.  Each family brings little, wrapped gifts, and as soon as we finish lunch, we pull the bingo cards and beans (literal beans) out, and almost every member of our family play.  We get competitive, and we literally play for hours.  Each gift can be stolen twice, and when one of us bingos, we have to play at least one more game before quitting.  It’s one of the things I look forward to most every year.

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. I love the decorations and the music so much, and I hope my kids find that same joy I do.  Each tradition we have brings us closer together as a family, which makes it even more special.

About Misty: Misty is a speaker and author of The Real You: Daily Readings for Daughters of the King.  She has a great desire to equip young ladies with confidence in who they are and who God created them to be.

Where to find her:

^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

Reader Faves.