Before I address what may sound like a weird title to this post, I want to share a bit about my weekend. It was the Ugly Sweater Express Weekend, and it was so much fun. A lot of prep work and time went into getting our Hot Cocoa Bombs ready, but it was well worth the time and energy spent. Our Bombs continue to be a hit with everyone who tries them and we met so many nice people. Here is a little slide show about some of our favorite things. I wish I had time to go into more detail.
There were so many more wonderful crafters and venders there. It is a fun annual event that we love taking part in, especially since it is hosted by family and so many family and friends take part in it. You can go to the Ugly Sweater Express Facebook wall to see more photos and information.
Now, on to today's post! I am going to tell you the story of one of our family's most loved traditions. (Especially mine!) I once mentioned it in this post from last Christmas. This is one of the traditions when you will want to be drinking the Hot Orange Punch that Lindsey blogged about yesterday. (Thanks Lindsey!)
The Beginning: I love Christmas Carols and music. So, when my husband and I started our little family, (which grew to be large), during the Christmas season, after our tree was up and decorated, we would turn all of the lights off except for the tree lights at night before going to bed and sit and sing Christmas Carols together. Does that sound cheesey? Maybe so, but it also felt warm and loving and reminded us of the reason we were celebrating. When we had just one little son, we did this and we each took turns picking a song. One night as we were getting our son ready for bed, he asked us, "Aren't we going to sing to the tree?" It made us chuckle that he thought that was what we were doing, but since that time, that is what we have called it, Singing to the Tree.
The Tradition: Now, we have been married for almost 37 years, and every Christmas Season, we gather around the tree and "sing to it" as often as we can. We don't do it every night. Sometimes things are too busy and not enough people are home at the same time. But, we do it at least 5 or 6 times throughout the month of December, especially on Sundays and for sure as part of our Christmas Eve tradition when everyone is here. Sitting and singing together costs nothing, yet the benefits of sitting together snuggled on the couch or laying on the carpet (this is a big reason why I kept carpet in our living room) are priceless. It is a great way to slow down a little and just spend time together and to reflect on the birth of the Savior through song. Of course, we also have some good rounds of "Rudolph" and "Jingle Bells", but we always end with a quiet, spiritual song about Christ and then have family prayer. We begin by letting the youngest child (or grandchild) pick the song first, and my husband, (the oldest, tee hee), picks last, ensuring a quite song to end on. (He has two favorites, "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" or "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear".)
It Continues: You would think that with just my two youngest adult children at home with my husband and me, that we wouldn't worry too much about this tradition any more. But, just last night, the four of us went into the living room and sang together for the first time this season. We laughed and talked and everyone made fun of me because those moments always make me get teary eyed because I love them so much. I am a Hallmark Special on the inside.
Anyone Can Do It!: You may think that the reason this tradition works for us is because we have done it our whole married life. Also, we have some pretty musically talented kids, so at this point, when we are all together, we are starting to sound like a choir. Yet, we have had company join us many times for our Singing to the Tree sessions, and they have all loved it whether they could sing or not. It is the feeling of family and fun that you are going after, not whether you sound like the Osmonds or something. When the kids were little, it was such a good way to settle them down for the evening. Sometimes we would first read a Christmas book and then go right into singing to the tree, then prayer. After that, they knew it was bedtime and there were no problems! (Especially after singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"!)
If you don't think you know the words to many songs, you can always call them up on your phone and even play music to sing along with. We usually just sing acapella, or you can have someone play the piano. My daughter plays the piano, but then we would have had to turn on the lights for her to see the music, and we like to have them off in order to enjoy the lights on the tree. We also have some guitar players, so that could work for you, too. If you are looking for some special moments with your little ones, you might want to give this tradition a try.
We have a few more fun traditions that we will be telling you about. Please be sure to share some of yours with us as well. We love to make the season bright. Don't forget #LIGHTtheWORLD! It is never too late to start.
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!