“But my mom always puts sausage in the stuffing.” My husband made that pouty face I find hard to resist. I resisted. “It’s my mom’s recipe, and it doesn’t need sausage.” When my husband and I were newlyweds, our first Christmas was full of joy and love—and discovering we had different notions about how to celebrate.
Over the years, we’ve learned to compromise and blend. By incorporating traditions from each of our families and cultures, we came up with our own unique spin. Following my family’s German tradition, we open family presents on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, we unload our stockings. This spreads the fun over two days—and allowed us to get more sleep on Christmas morning when the children were young.
Both my husband and I have Scottish roots, so we enjoy “crackers” at Christmas dinner. These foil-covered cardboard tubes open with a loud crack, and are filled with paper crowns, cheap toys, and the worst jokes ever. Seriously bad, and that’s part of the fun—laughing at how corny the jokes are and how ridiculous we look in our crowns.
The advent wreath comes from my husband’s Swedish heritage, and is one of the highlights of the season. On each of the four Sundays in Advent, we gather around the wreath with eggnog and cookies, and light a candle. My husband tells the appropriate part of the Christmas story, the children read Bible passages, and we sing carols.
For us, this is a warm family time as the kids jostle each other on the couch and snuggle over the songbook. It feeds the sense of joyful anticipation that makes Christmas so wondrous. Best of all, it focuses our joy and wonder where they belong—on Jesus. Compromise and blending have made our marriage strong and our Christmas celebrations uniquely ours.
By the way, I make my mom’s stuffing exactly as she does—but I do add sausage. We like it better that way.
About Sarah Sundin: Sarah Sundin lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to soccer and tennis, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school. She is the author of the Wings of Glory series—A Distant Melody (Revell 2010), A Memory Between Us (2010), and Blue Skies Tomorrow (August 2011). http://www.sarahsundin.com