Traditions That Brighten the Christian World

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“Traditions That Brighten the Christian World,” New Era, Dec. 1971, 14

Traditions That Brighten the Christian World

“Do you think the Shepherds know
How the whole round world is brightened
In the ruddy Christmas glow?”
Mary Austen

“What do you do that’s wonderful on Christmas?” the New Era asked its readers. Try some of these answers on your family, and maybe you can start a new tradition of your own. Let us know what works at your house.

Our Christmas carriage is a 1922 Dodge touring car that the whole family worked to restore. We ride around in elfin suits and carol the neighbors, leaving Books of Mormon at the homes of nonmembers.—Lisa and Brooke Brothers of San Diego, California

Good deeds and surprises are in order in our family when Christmas rolls around. We set up a beautifully decorated “good deed” box, and as the weeks pass, we drop in notes describing the surprises others prepare for us. We describe the Christlike kindnesses and try to guess who did them. On Christmas Eve we open the box and take turns reading the reports. Naturally we do a lot of laughing and crying.—Marilyn and Elizabeth Bennion, Salt Lake City, Utah.

We always wait until Christmas Eve to set up our nativity scene. This puts us in a spiritual mood for the occasion. Then we reread the scriptures and sing the carols.—Nancy Evans, Raymond, Alberta, Canada.

Santa isn’t part of our celebration, but a fish dinner is. It’s an ancient Chinese custom meaning there will be a return of good fortune. Christmas will come again next year, you see.—Joy Chang, Laie, Hawaii.

Instead of exchanging gifts, we’ve started the tradition in our family of adopting a needy family. We give them special presents on Christmas Eve.—Fran Redd, Ft. Worth, Texas.

We pull a Christmas switch at our house. The children fill stockings for parents and grandparents. A beautiful birthday cake in honor of the baby Jesus is a tradition I want to carry over into my own family someday.—Irene Price, Santa Ana, California.

We get up at 6 A.M. to watch my dad play Santa to the patients In the Primary Children’s Hospital. Seeing how happy they are is better than opening our own gifts. I’d like to carry this tradition over into my own family someday.—Connie Vincent, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Decking the halls with boughs of holly is part of the English Christmas custom. So is eating Christmas pudding. We enjoy doing both and decorating with colorful paper streamers across the ceilings and big balloons everywhere.—Stanley Liddle, Sunderland, England.

Christmas Eve is family night for us—even when it doesn’t come on Monday! We have family prayer before opening gifts, and we four sisters act out the first Christmas—as we always have ever since I can remember.—Denine Focarini, Camp Springs, Maryland.

Our Norwegian ancestry demands a Scandinavian Christmas, so we all pitch in and embroider gifts and cook krumkake and other pastries for our friends.—Carol Peterson, Ft. Worth, Texas.

Wrapping gifts as a group heightens the excitement for us. One family member at a time is isolated in suspense in another room while all the gifts for him are being wrapped. Then he rejoins the family to share in the fun of wrapping for someone else.—Kathy Gailey, Bountiful, Utah.

Coupon books with tickets good for personal services are our favorite gifts. Tickets read: “Good for one dressmaking session” or “Good for one lawn cut” or “Good for one dinner out.” We try to offer the kind of help the other person really would appreciate.—Susan Coburn, San Diego, California.

Music is a beautiful part of our holiday. We always go to the special carol service that our little branch holds on Christmas. We have an artificial tree, but I hope someday we can have a real tree!—Janis Elizabeth Noble, Peterlee, Durham, England.

Illustrated by Stan Thurman