Read the Christmas traditions from a few of our staff to hear directly from the people behind The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Director of Website Management
We put up our Christmas decorations usually the Friday after Thanksgiving. As everyone has grown up and job schedules have come into play, sometimes it's the Saturday, but never any later. We pull out all our decoration boxes, put on It's a Wonderful Life (always the original black and white) and we start decorating while having the movie play. We start with our Christmas tree. Our ornaments are all ornaments that have memories attached to them. So, the best part is talking about the ornaments as we are decorating, remembering times past and all the beautiful memories.
Then half-way through, we take a break and warm up some yummy Thanksgiving leftovers, while finishing the movie. We then put on another Christmas movie (which is usually Miracle on 24th Street or White Christmas), and finish the decorating, which includes making sure we have Christmas lights in our bedrooms. We all love the colors of the lights all month. :) By this time it's dark outside, and we turn off the lights, drink some eggnog and enjoy all the beautiful decorations and lights and the joy of having another Christmas together with both of our children with us.
At Christmastime, our family gathers together all the children's Christmas and winter-themed picture books. We wrap each book and place them in a basket. Each night leading up to Christmas after we have our nightly prayer time, one child gets to pick a book to unwrap, taking turns night after night so that each child gets a turn. We sit together and read the book and laugh and enjoy the time together as a family.
Then we read from the Bible about Jesus, the prophecies He fulfilled, and His wondrous birth, and we choose several Christmas carols to sing together. We even bought some inexpensive carol books a few years ago to help us learn all the verses to our favorite songs. Over the years, this tradition has helped us to keep Christ, our love for Him, and our family at the center of Christmas.
Each year our church family joins us in caroling to our elderly and shut ins. It is a wonderful time of singing and sharing goodie baskets. Generally, we meet on an evening a few days before Christmas and split up into teams. We sing to roughly 8-10 different senior saints. It really seems to make their Christmas special. The smiles on their faces and the twinkle in their eye is such a blessing! After we have delivered the baskets and sang to each of our loved ones, we generally meet back at the church for a time of fellowship and hot cocoa or coffee. We love caroling each and every year. If you've never gone caroling, you should try it out this year. It will brighten someone's day for sure!
Advertising Sales Representative
Check out Katie’s 2 favourite recipes and some of her Christmas traditions in the Family Food Time section: Cherry Balls Christmas Tradition.
Elisabeth Van Etten
The Homeschool Minute Manager
Administrative Assistant to Senior Editor
I wanted to share a Christmas tradition that my family has implemented the last few years with our kids: Our Jesus Cake
Since Christmas is Jesus' birthday, our family celebrates with a birthday cake for Jesus. It's a 3-layer cake with each layer representing our relationship to Jesus (think Wordless Book as a cake).
The layers are green, red, and black with white frosting.
Bottom layer = chocolate cake
The bottom layer represents our sin-stained hearts in need of a relationship with Christ.
Second layer = red cake
The red layer represents Christ's blood shed to take away our sins.
Top layer = green cake
The green layer represents our new life in Jesus Christ.
We frost the cake with white frosting and decorate it with gold sprinkles to stand for our home in heaven. In the middle of our cake, we place an upside-down mini candy cane (so it looks like a "J" for Jesus).
I've also used crushed candy canes or chocolate mints in between each layer of frosting for a minty twist. We love mint! This cake is so pretty, festive, and special to our family.
Check out cakes like Elisabeth has made and a few other creative Jesus cakes on our Happy Birthday Jesus Cake Pinterest Board.
Canada Team Manager
This year our we’re changing up some of our Christmas traditions. In planning for family visiting, we won’t be at home Christmas day. This is the first time in a long time (maybe since my childhood??) that I won’t be at home Christmas morning. We’ll be travelling to stay with my husbands parents in Southern Ontario on the 23rd or 24th and while I’ve felt a bit sad to not have that special Christmas morning time in our own home, the grandparents will be quite happy to have us all there making their quiet Christmas morning noisy (I hope!).
Because we decided to be elsewhere over the Christmas days, we also decided to go without a Christmas tree, which I’m pretty sure will be a first for me ever! The Christmas tree does hold a lot in the way of tradition with a hanging spot for all our special ornaments and the light glow of colour the lights provide. However, I’m actually excited to do something different this year by giving those sentimental ornaments other special locations and get more creative on how we decorate with lights.
My favourite part of decorating includes some of the things that have been made by me and my kids over the years, like the Countdown to Christ Day wall hanging, the stocking I made a couple of decades ago for my first son with the cross-stitched front, and the numerous ornaments and creations that me and my kids have made. You know those ones that aren’t visually appealing but you just love too much to get rid of even though the child who made it could make something much more attractive now.
Currently, I’m right in the middle of making stockings for the whole family. This was a spontaneously initiated project that started with just thinking my husband needed a new stocking. And that’s how it usually goes for me; I get this little idea for a sewing project and then I take it even further.
The tradition I’ll never likely put to the side is making things.
I have often made gifts for family, made practical projects for the season and made an array of changes to what we do over the season. My tradition is to change it up and see what new experiences the season can bring. Just reading the traditions of others in this article makes me want to try every one!
What I like to focus on during this season is to not get too caught up in what we’ve always done. Isn’t that following the way of Jesus? I read again and again how He spoke against religious tradition to make way for a direct spiritual life with God for every believer! Don’t forget the most important tradition of what this joyous holiday is about, but also be open to what you can add on to the celebration of Jesus to show a ‘love your neighbour’ attitude.
Have a joyous and blessed Christmas with family and friends AND show the love of Jesus on everyone you meet!
Many blessings for you this holiday season!