Family Traditions

By:  Diane Stroup

Several years ago, after the birth of our fourth grandchild, I started what has become an annual Christmas tradition. Instead of having individually wrapped gifts under the tree for each of our “grands”, I wrap their gifts and tie them together in what has become known as their “Christmas Towers”. Each tower has its own special gift wrap. And to make it even more fun, there are no name tags on the towers. So, before the towers are distributed, all five grandchildren try to guess which one is theirs.

Another tradition we have at our dinner on Christmas Eve is the Christmas Crackers. The snapping of the crackers with the gifts flying out, the wearing of the paper crowns and the little papers with jokes which are read aloud, bring about much laughter. Since the gifts enclosed in the crackers are not all that great, one year I decided to purchase nice individual gifts to put at each place setting. I soon discovered that although everyone liked their gifts, they missed the crackers. I corrected that the next Christmas and our traditional crackers were back on the table. Everyone was happy! It proved to me how important family traditions are and how much our children and grandchildren did not want things changed.

So now, every year when all of our holiday shopping is finished, there are “towers” standing like sentinels in front of the fireplace. The tree is decorated with the hidden pickle ornament that when found, yields a special gift. And, once again, the crackers take center stage at each place setting! Family traditions create a sense of anticipation and of belonging within families that can be passed down from generation to generation.

May your Christmas be abundantly blessed and may your unique family traditions create an atmosphere of love, joy and closeness!




Diane Stroup, wife of Pastor Robert Stroup resides in Indiana where they have pastored
for over forty years. They also served as the Indiana district superintendent of the UPCI for many years. She adores her two children and five grandchildren, enjoys travel and loves to work on puzzles!



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