Speaking of tradition, I don't know that I've ever really thought about our traditions until this year. My main tradition for Christmas has always been to just keep it simple. Simple decorations. Simple activities. Simple gifts. We always open our gifts on Christmas Eve after attending church together, making it a quiet evening at home together. Then we sleep in Christmas morning and just enjoy a quiet morning/day together. Back in Indiana, we hopped from one family gathering to another since all of Mike's family lived there. Here in Texas, we join up with my brother's family for a dessert in the afternoon, but that's about it.
This year my parents joined us for a quiet little Christmas Eve at home, watching the boys open up their presents and even opening a few for them. I read about the religious history behind a few Christmas traditions (like why we put lights on the tree and outside the house), and we kept a fire going strong in the fireplace.
Juan David especially likes that we have the tradition of opening up our presents on Christmas Eve because that's how they do it in Colombia, too. I had all intentions of trying to add in a bit of Colombian tradition to our Christmas, but it just didn't happen. I will try to incorporate a few Colombian traditions to New Year's, I guess.
My parents got up early Christmas morning to join my brother's family for their own gift-giving traditions, and then we all got together for a big Christmas dinner in the early afternoon. To add to the fun, my brother heated up his brand new pool, so the boys all swam for hours! I enjoyed every bit of the day and am so thankful for the chance to celebrate with lots of family this year.
I especially love watching Juan David embrace our family traditions as his own. Last year he enjoyed everything we did, though he constantly compared it to all he ever knew in Colombia, almost in a defensive way. This year he opened up more about both the positives and negatives of his life in Colombia, showing much more appreciation and gratitude for being part of a family. We tried our best to connect with Julian during the day, but we only talked with him very briefly on Facebook. I at least sent him pictures of his brother to let him know we still think about him all the time. I hope some day he might be able to join us for Christmas here.
Christmas Eve service
Christmas Day activity
Family photos (notice the variety of attire and foot coverings)
Family photo with the grandparents
Matt's family with the grandparents
Me and Mom
We have moved from identical gifts to similar gifts (Dog lover and Cat lover mugs)
(They didn't take long to put on their new soccer jerseys! FC Dallas and Colombia)
A gift from Dad
A Colombia/US picture frame that I painted for Juan David
Juan David's gift to David
Juan's smallest, but very meaningful gift
A keychain linking both the U.S. and the Colombian flag together, representing his dual citizenship of both countries. A gift I couldn't resist once I saw it.
Now I'm off to the store to start making preparations for the New Year celebration at our home, trying to combine both cultures a little better than we did for Christmas.