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As far back as I can remember, my family has always celebrated New Year’s Day with a big meal featuring pork, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and corn bread. My dad enjoys throwing in some baked clams, but I’ve chosen to leave those out of our version of the family tradition… 🙂
This year was no different. Even though we’d been packing a bunch in between Christmas and Ian’s 13th birthday celebrations, and despite the fact that I had been feeling pretty sick the night before, I still managed to get the pork loin in the oven to slow roast overnight and we had a delicious meal for a late lunch the next day.
It’s said that having this meal on New Year’s Day leads to a prosperous year, but I’m really just glad for the fun of making it and the tastiness of eating it! Plus it’s a favorite of just about everyone in our family (and friends we’ve gotten to share the meal with, too!)
A slightly more odd tradition that we keep in the Campbell household is celebrating Three Kings Day, which we’ll be doing tomorrow morning! This is because of the few years of my childhood that were spent in Caracas, Venezuela. Three Kings Day is celebrated in many hispanic countries, including Venezuela! Our version may be a bit modified, but it suits us, and is mostly in the same spirit, I’d say.
Every January 5th, we leave our shoes out by the front door, ready to be filled by the three wise men. They leave us gifts, just like they did for Jesus. We can leave straw for their camels to eat, but usually don’t do that. 🙂 In the morning, we come down to find a small gift and usually some candy left in everyone’s shoes. Fun!
And, every once in a while, we’ll bake an oven-safe trinket into a cake and then whoever gets the piece of cake with that item in it gets to be KING for the day! We’ve modified this a bit, too, in that we know the King of kings, we try to be a king in the way he was: serving, not being served. (And yes, the kids still want to do it!)
Speaking of knowing the King of kings…
After reading many of her favorite mom/big-family blogs this Christmas season, Jen thought it might finally be the year to “do Christmas differently”. We’ve had a pretty typical Christmas tradition of lots of gifts, and the big family Christmas at Grandma & Grandpa’s, and so on. This year she thought we could focus more on the reason we’re celebrating: it’s Jesus’ birthday! (At least, the day that is celebrated.)
We’ve tossed some of these ideas around for the past several years, but we decided to really do it this year. First, we each drew a name of someone else in the family, and got just one meaningful gift for that person. (So, still gifts, but much less about gifts for us.) We spent as much or more money giving gifts to Jesus. How, you ask? Matthew 25 says, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you are doing for me” (my paraphrase), so we did that! We bought (via World Vision this time) 13 small farm animals for people who could use them for daily sustenance. It was really cool to see the kids excited to do it! And it was so nice to have the focus much less on the gifts (and the getting) and much more on Jesus, and the incredible Gift of his becoming a man that “…all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
We also made a birthday cake, of course, and had a great time celebrating Jesus’ birthday! (We’re pretty good at celebrating birthdays around here!) Hoping that this becomes our family tradition as the years go on. And I’m sure there will be some great modifications along the way.
Note: we based the “age” upon a birth year of 4 BC… thus the 2015. (Though, if you count the year 0, wouldn’t he be 2016?) 🙂
Do you have family traditions from your childhood that you have continued with your family? Any new ones you’ve begun with your own family? Comment below!