Let’s be honest, this year has been difficult. 2020 hit us all like a bag of bricks and most of us are probably more than ready to say goodbye! It’s been a year of grieving, instability, and fear. But through it all communities around the world have supported each other in healing, hope, and continued restoration. Through these difficult times, the staff here at The Lights of Christmas want to show the community the joy and hope of Christmas and that together we can pull through these difficult times. Christmas is just a few days away and we want to bring you a little joy, warmth, and hopeful smiles by sharing some favorite Christmas traditions.
“We open our gifts on Christmas Eve and have a big dinner with salmon, steak, warm maple oatmeal bread, cheesy potatoes and yam hotdish with pecan topping. Sometimes we would even buy lefse rolled up with butter and brown sugar from Scandia Bakery on main street in Stanwood! We also stay up late and play The Farming Game.” -Nancy, Director of Donor Relations, Warm Beach Camp Ministries
“Growing up my family always opened our stocking first and ate breakfast before we opened our gifts. Our stocking always had an orange in the toe and breakfast usually included pancakes, eggs and bacon! After breakfast we all sat in a circle and opened gifts one-by-one and then usually headed over to grandma’s house.” –Kimberly, Kitchen & The Lights of Christmas staff, Warm Beach Camp Ministries
“I grew up in Norway and my grandma made lefse and lutefisk for Christmas and I learned how to make them too. My grandfather was a woodsman and would tell stories of angels in the trees. I love to learn about different cultures and see how they celebrate the return of lightness in times of darkness. It helps me to remember that we are humans and the Creator made us all, each is a beautiful expression of the Creator’s infinite joy!” Celeste, Volunteer, Warm Beach Camp
“One of our favorite family traditions is to put on our pajamas, go get milkshakes, and drive around town looking at Christmas lights! We’ve been doing it since I was a kid and it is so much fun to now do it with my own family! Another favorite tradition is our Advent calendar. We read a passage/story every night and add a decoration to a little tree. Since we’ve had small kids, we have read a story out of the Jesus Storybook Bible. This year, we started reading a chapter of Luke each night and it has been so fun to read and discuss with the kids and see how they are learning and growing!” -Sarah, Executive Assistant, Warm Beach Camp Ministries
“One of my favorite Christmas traditions is when the oldest man in the family reads Luke Chapter 2 to the rest of the family. One year my husband was trucking, so my oldest son read Luke in his place. It was one of the hardest Christmases but also one of my favorites at the same time.” –Carrie, Volunteer, Warm Beach Camp
“Christmas morning breakfast! Waffles, strawberries, ice-cream, whip cream, syrup, bacon and eggs! True Story: One year Bev (my wife) and I decided to change it up and do something different…. NOPE – NOT HAPPENING: Kids found a store that was open and went and got everything needed to keep the tradition going!!!” –Ed, CEO, Warm Beach Camp Ministries
“My family loves Christmas and all 3 of us take part when we can in decorating, baking, choosing and decorating the tree, buying and wrapping presents, choosing Christmas foods, etc. One of our favorite things to do is to collect items for stockings on Christmas morning. We each look for small gifts throughout the year, especially when we travel. We wrap them up individually and stuff the stockings (and extra stockings or gift bags as needed) and lay them out “secretly” on Christmas Eve at bedtime so no one really sees what all is there. In the morning once we all have coffee in our hands and have hunted for the Christmas Pickle (hidden by the finder from the previous year) we take turns opening the gifts in our stockings, guessing what each one might be and telling stories of where the special gifts came from and why they were chosen.” –Jeannie, Development Team, Warm Beach Camp Ministries
“We like to make homemade pizza!” -Holly, Volunteer, Warm Beach Camp
“Britni (my wife) and I have done an ornament swap every year for our Christmas tradition. We each reflect on the year and select an ornament for the other that highlights a favorite moment or summarizes our year together. (Last year I received a WA state ferry ornament, because of all the ferry date trips we took. In 2017 I gave her a Dutch Bros cup ornament, since that was our first stop on our first date.) We are always excited to decorate the tree because it gives us an opportunity to look back on the years and laugh at old memories or jokes. We are especially excited for many years down the road when our tree is full of these ornaments that will help us remember every year of our lives together.” -Dustin, Guest Service Representative & The Lights of Christmas Ticketing Lead, Warm Beach Camp
“Every year my family has a meal of appetizers on Christmas Eve which includes homemade tamales that all the women in my family get together and make. We make about 1000 tamales in one day! Matriarchal heads take turns with the 2-day meat and other ingredient prep and hosting. And every woman’s family gets to take a batch home for her family. It’s how we keep the traditional recipe going and pass on our culture. Since my family is progressive, last year the women put their metaphorical foot down and required that the men get in the kitchen and help. 😄 They had a blast and were actually super excited to learn! As soon as you are old enough to be in the kitchen, you’re required to be present so you can start memorizing the recipe. 🙂 This will be my daughter’s first year helping me make the Christmas tamales and I am so excited to pass this fun part of my culture on to her like my mother, grandmother, and ancestors have done for years.” -Kayla, Marketing Specialist, Warm Beach Camp Ministries & The Lights of Christmas
Thank you for reading our staff Christmas traditions. We are so blessed to serve you and your family and honored that many of you have made The Lights of Christmas an annual holiday tradition! From all of us here at Warm Beach Camp Ministries, home of The Lights of Christmas, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Marketing Specialist, Warm Beach Camp Ministries & The Lights of Christmas