Making gingerbread houses has become one of our traditions so we made those on another Monday night when Kara and Luke had arrived.
What other traditions did we continue this year?
Christmas Eve--We discontinued our live pageant last year, but we read the Christmas story and Luke and Kara shared a true story of his ancestor who rode 8 hours in freezing Canadian weather in a horse and carriage to bring supplies to a needy family for Christmas.
We had something like a Danish dinner with the red cabbage that we have purely because it's tradition.
We had our rice pudding with the almond. The winner no longer gets the Danish marzipan (almond paste) pig, but a large almond chocolate bar. We further bend the rules and let everyone else split a second bar.
Another tradition is to help a family or two who are in need. It is always wonderful to see how much it is appreciated--though sometimes we do it anonymously. This year our family was also on the receiving end of a special gift.
On Dec. 19, Luke's birthday, Kara came home to their apartment to find it robbed and ransacked. All of Luke's wrapped presents and their Christmas presents were taken from under their tree--along with their two computers and other electronics and items. That was pretty "Grinchy", but we also saw the Christian compassion of people in their ward who made a collection a couple days later of several hundred dollars that they presented to them--as well as a new computer! That was so kind of those people who mostly anonymously gave to them because they consider them part of their ward family.
Of course we hung our stockings. This year James' stocking was out but unfilled--although Santa did find him in California. We got to talk with James for about an hour on Christmas day. We were surprised by his Spanish accent, but it was great to hear his voice! We are very proud of the work he is doing to tell others the glad tidings of Jesus.