Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Yule Log

One of my favorite Christmas traditions, passed down from my mother, is the Yule Log.  I'm sure there are a multitude of ways in which this tradition is celebrated, but in our home, it goes something like this:

Five nights before Christmas, the Mr. and I light the first candle on the log and talk about our first meeting, our courtship, engagement, and marriage.  We speak of how we fell in love and made the decision to be married, and of our wedding and early years of marriage.  We then present each of the children with a gift we've selected or made specifically for them.  Everyone in the family then says something they love about us (so fun to hear what the children come up with!), and then we sing our favorite Christmas song.  We then present the family with an ornament we've chosen for the year, by which we will remember 2011.  This year we selected a Santa Clause, since we visited Santa's Village this year.

Four nights before Christmas is Angel's night.  Angel lights her candle with the light from ours, symbolizing how our love increased with her arrival.  We tell the story of how we longed for a baby, how we learned that we were expecting Angel and how we announced it to the world.  We tell of my pregnancy with her, her birth story, and her personality as a baby.  Each family member then takes a turn sharing something they love about Angel.  Grins said he loves how silly Angel is with him.  And Wiggles loved how Angel helps her get dressed. Angel then presents each family member with a gift she has made or selected for them, and we then give her an ornament representing her year.  This year she was given a ballerina, in memory of her first ballet lessons.  She then led us in "Oh Christmas Tree", her (current) favorite Christmas carol.

The following night we celebrate Grins.  We repeat the process with Grins, and this year, he was given an apple, symbolizing his beginning school this year.

The night before Christmas Eve is Wiggles' night.  I had wanted to get her a "Yoda" ornament, since that was her Halloween costume this year, and she enjoyed it immensely.  But since I couldn't find one, she was given a teddy bear, symbolizing the fact that (as I've mentioned previously) her stuffed animals and toys have become her dearest friends since Grins and Angel are both in school.

This is not the best picture - but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to document Angel dressing up her puppy (note the snowflake barrettes) and setting her comfortably in the yule log circle. 
 Christmas eve, our final night of the Yule Log, we light a white candle for Jesus.  We read scriptures of His life, speak of the many miracles He performed, His teachings, and His sacrifice.  Then we each offer up a gift to Him for the coming year; mostly a way in which we will follow His example and improve ourselves.  This year, Wiggles offered sharing, Grins promised to be obedient, Angel promised kindness, I offered patience and the Mr, devotion.

As you can tell - we are all very tired in this picture!  Don't worry - we went straight to bed after this photo was taken!
I will say, the ornaments are the most difficult part of this tradition, as it's often hard to find ornaments I'm looking for (such as Yoda).  But, looking back at the 30 ornaments I've collected over the years and reminiscing on my first year playing the violin, my first car, and first time to Disneyland, etc, makes me want to carry this tradition on with my own children, and makes the hours of ornament shopping all worth it in the end!

No comments: