Holidays…ready or not – here they come! Children enjoy family traditions. I’ve learned that more as our kids have left the nest. I believe children are comforted by traditions and feel loved and cherished through them. My husband and I didn’t necessarily purpose to build holiday traditions – they just kind of happened. If I could go back I would purpose to build even more.

Tradition means different things to different people. For my daughter, Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without the traditional food fare. One year we considered serving a non-traditional meal and she set us straight that for her, Thanksgiving meant turkey and dressing and the fixings. So that was that – end of discussion and Thanksgiving menu was set for life!

I asked our kids what their favorite traditions were and enjoyed hearing their responses. Unanimously sausage balls won top pick! My mother-in-law began the tradition of sausage balls for Christmas breakfast and we have continued it. Just a simple recipe I’ll include, but oh so delicious!

Another mutual favorite and my personal favorite tradition is the Baby Jesus basket. When we decorate the Christmas tree I set out an empty basket filled with muslin and hay or raffia and it remains there, in the prominent spot at the foot of the tree, until Christmas morning. When the kids get up that morning and head to the tree, Baby Jesus is in the basket and we all say, “Baby Jesus is here!” I use a life-size doll that I keep tucked away for just this event. Precious memories.

Many years we made a Happy Birthday Jesus cake as a reminder of what we were celebrating.

Playing games as a family, watching movies while stuffed with food with extended family, playing with new toys Christmas Day all ranked high.

Decorating the house for Christmas as a family team was a favorite mentioned. This was usually an all-day event and brought much joy at the final result. Of course, the taking down was another story…smile.

Our daughter posted the following on social media last year, along with a sweet picture of our family’s (those who were in town) personal candlelight service Christmas Eve night: My favorite tradition…the nativity story read by candlelight. We’ve always taken this tradition to slow it down after all the holiday hub-bub, but this year it brought a whole new level of meaning, because instead of all coming home from a Christmas light show, or a Christmas Eve service together, we came home from 3 different churches across the state after serving in 2 days of Christmas Eve ministries. I couldn’t be more grateful for the reason for this season nor my family who works so hard to help others celebrate Him.

My wonderful daughters-in-law shared some of their families’ favorite holiday traditions:

We used to look up houses in the newspaper that did extravagant lights and decorations and drove to those neighborhoods and enjoyed the lights.

Each year on Christmas day we each got an ornament. We would hang it on the tree and when the tree came down we’d get to put the ornament in a bin with our name on it. When we moved out we got to take the bin with all the ornaments we had been given over the years. It made our first Christmas really special as a couple as I shared about the ornaments and we started our own additions to it!

We had a Christmas Eve tradition that went like this: We would go out after dark, usually right after dinner, and while we were out Santa’s Elves would sneak in and leave us gifts–always Christmas pajamas. We would open them, exclaim over them, change into them, and wear them for Christmas morning!

So I encourage you, and it’s never too late, to create your own holiday traditions for your children to enjoy and carry-on into their lives and inspire fresh, new traditions for their own families.

And the first prize goes to…

Sausage Balls

1 lb. sausage

1 lb. grated cheddar cheese

3 cups Bisquick

Shape into balls and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Can be frozen before cooking. Separate layers with wax paper.