Perhaps by listing the traditions we hold dear.
We decorate our homes. Ornaments bring back meaningful memories that lead to special reflections. I found one sent to us years ago from Pakistan just as we were hearing about the horrendous murder of school children.
Monday at Stephan's meal, our young friend from China came bearing gifts, among them new ornaments to add to our collection.
We send and receive greetings.
I wrote the year-end letter earlier than usual, by Thanksgiving, and then enjoyed receiving and reciprocating the many letters and cards throughout the entire season. Facebook has greatly increased the flow of holiday greetings from all over the world.
We have special food traditions.
Some bake cookies. I do not. So I had to borrow these great photos to show off the grandsons helping mom, and wearing the aprons Kayla and I made for them some years back.
I did, however, for the first time, give my neighbors a little something I baked myself.
Christmas Eve Stephan and Karen invite everyone for a festive brunch--biscuits and gravy, crepes, quiche, and usually Monte Cristo sandwiches and scotch eggs. The food is great and the fellowship even better.
That same evening we have an artichoke and shrimp meal at our place for those who can make it.
We introduced the game of Hand and Foot and played one round. Jimmy liked it so we hope to have many more fun competitive moments.
Look who babysat while we played.
Christmas Day brunch here has traditionally been Sausage Souffle (from a recipe Sam copied and brought home in second grade), and Baked Oatmeal.
Not everybody can be here anymore. Stephan usually has more than one ice sculpture to deliver, and Sam's family have their own celebration with their four growing boys. Matt had to work, but Kayla and Rebecca made our day!
And Nanna Leah's as well!
Looks like the pretty Christmas dress was too warm.
Sunday we had our ALL family gathering. The house really warmed up. Look at Rebecca now.
Of course, she must still accessorize!
We read the story of Jesus birth.
This year we asked the older boys to read while the little ones acted out the story with little Nativity figures.
We give gifts to one another.
Some plan and prepare all year, others shop at the last minute, but we always end up with an abundance of thoughtful, practical gifts, and many of them homemade.
One of the biggest conversation pieces was the Doulos cartoon we had printed and framed for each of our kids whose early years were spent living on that ship.
Two years ago, we had a real couple (Matt and Kayla) and not their baby.
This year, Kayla's own baby, but Matt had to work, so Skye played the role of Joseph.
The experiment always has its hilarious moments.
I am writing this as 2014 comes to a close. Here's wishing you all a rich and full life in 2015.