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Christmas 1978 (Me, Mom and my brother Greg)

As Christmas approaches, I’m so excited to participate in the  Christmas Blog Tour hosted by Blogs by Christian Women (BCW). If you’d like to follow along, the next stop on our tour is at Niki Roberts blog on 12/7.

Blessings, Rebecca

Tumbleweeds

Family traditions were important to my Mother. She was one of nine children who grew up in a family steeped in rituals. She hoped to create her own family traditions which she did despite my parents divorce when I was six-years-old.

At times, she held two jobs or sold catalog products to make ends meet. We had a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and clothes on our backs. For that  I am forever grateful.

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My Mom, Georgia

The first year was especially tough. I remember going to the grocery store to purchase groceries with food stamps. I pondered in my heart why we didn’t use cash like other families.

Next to Easter, my Mom’s favorite holiday was Christmas. She loved the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus and wrapping presents.

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We lived in an apartment complex. One day, while walking past my neighbor’s door, their tree lights shimmered and the scent of fresh pine filled the air. I ran home, “When can we get a tree, Mom?”

“Next weekend,” she said.

I was so excited that I could barely contain myself.

That Saturday, we jumped in our Plymouth Belvedere and drove to nearby railroad tracks. We hopped out and started walking, “Where are we going?”

“We’re hunting for a Christmas tree sweetheart.” She grabbed a scraggly bush, “Here’s one. Help me find two more Becky.”

tumbleweed

I asked her, “What’s that in your hand?”

“It’s a tumbleweed,” she replied.

Suddenly, a gust of wind blew several more past me and I ran as fast as I could to catch them.

When we arrived home, she stacked one on top of the other and spray painted them gold. Sparkly!

“There, all done,” she said.

Afterwards, we popped some corn and carefully placed each kernel on a string. Before long, we had our first handmade decoration.

That night, as I laid in bed , I heard her sobbing. I crept into her room, “What’s the matter Mama?”

“Nothing Honey. I’m just a little sad; that’s all. You see, I want to get you and your brother some Christmas gifts this year, but I don’t have a lot of money.”

“It’s okay Mom. We don’t need anything. Please don’t cry.”

Two weeks later, Christmas arrived. To my surprise, there were beautifully wrapped boxes under our tree. “Eeee! Did Santa bring us all these presents,” I squealed.

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“Yes, he did,” she beamed.

I gingerly opened the first one, savoring each tare of the pretty paper,  “I’ve always wanted this record!” Next, came a Shirley Temple color book and sharp new crayons. Then, a pair of rainbow colored socks. Finally, a tin of delicious Almond Roca candy.

I later discovered she worked overtime to purchase our gifts. That Christmas, my Mom taught me a valuable lesson of sacraficial love.

A few years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in a similar situation unable to buy a Christmas tree for our two young children.

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Randy, Rebecca, Austin and Alicia Christmas 2010

Two weeks before Christmas a friend from church, asked, “Did you get your Christmas tree yet?”

Sheepishly, I said, “Not yet. We can’t afford one.”

The following day, Lynda showed up at our home with a brand new six foot artificial tree. “Now, you’ll always have a tree for your kids.”

My voice cracked, “I don’t know what to say. Thank you so much.”

Christmas arrived and our children ran to see our tree just like I did when I was a child. They looked at their presents and were astonished,  “Wow! Did Santa give us all these gifts?”

“Yes, he did,” I said beaming.

Christmas is a very special holiday season. I’d love to hear about your favorite family traditions. Feel free to comment below.

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Harvest Family Tradition

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Holiday traditions are fun and important. In fact, Marriage and Family research shows, that  “Traditions are the cement that keeps the family together . . . and help you withstand the storms that come.”

One of our harvest time family traditions is to visit a pumpkin patch, pick a pumpkin, and bring it home to carve it.

It’s fun to go to a farm and look for the perfect pumpkin. I wonder, Will it be big, medium or small? Will it be green, white or orange in color? Will we free hand our design and rough cut it with a table knife or will we use special stencils and delicate carving tools?

It delights my heart, as a parent, to watch my children squeal with delight as they make many choices such as where to place our pumpkin. Do we put it on the porch or do we perch it on the windowsill?

When our kids were younger, we hosted annual pumpkin carving contests in our backyard. We’d invite friends and family to join us, and it was a blast to see how everyone’s pumpkin came out.

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We’d set up tables with newspaper to catch all the leftover pulp, and place pumpkin carving utensils/stencils out.

Our family also collects pumpkin seeds, sprinkles salt, and bakes them at 300F for approximately 45 minutes or until brown. Yum!

Here’s a picture of this year’s blank canvas. I can’t wait to see to see how it turns out! Each year offers something new and exciting.pumpkin

What is your family tradition during the harvest season? Does your children’s school or church group host an annual harvest festival? Do you go on any special field trips? I’d love to hear your thoughts/suggestions. Feel free to comment below.