‘Twas the 12th Day of Christmas


I have this thing for tradition. I own no less than five books on ideas for creating family rituals. From our holidays and vacations to our everyday routines, my husband and I have built some pretty amazing family traditions.


Each Christmas season, we go to the Candlelight Tour at Mount Vernon.


We all make a wish as we toss a penny into the fountain before we leave the hotel at the end of our vacations.


We pray for Dilu, the sweet child we sponsor through World Vision, as a family, at every meal.


My longing for tradition isn’t born of purely of nostalgia, though admittedly there is some in the mix. No, I love ritual because of the continuity it provides with the heart of our family – Love. Our traditions are an anchor. The winds of change may blow all around us, but one thing doesn’t change. We are a family of deep love.




On Christmas Day, 11 years ago, Derek and I decided to chuck our plans for a big fall wedding the following year, and use the 12 days of Christmas to plan a wedding. (I wasn’t pregnant, as everyone suspected, though we did have big plans.)


As much as I love tradition, I wasn’t attached to many of the typical bride’s ideas of the perfect wedding day. I didn’t have any attendants; my best friends were not even there. I didn’t walk down an isle. We never cut a wedding cake or had a first dance. There was no photographer.


In front of an amazing stone fireplace, next to a Christmas tree, we entered into a covenant. In the presence of our immediate family and God, we promised a forever love, only possible because of the birth of the baby we celebrate at Christmas. It was the perfect wedding, for us.


On our honeymoon, we purchased a customized “Just Married” ornament. As I was watching the artist write our names, I had a vision of a Christmas tree filled with anniversary ornaments. And so it was born, one of our first family traditions.


May several generations of our family sit, Christmas morning, under a tree filled with reminders of our great love.


Happy Anniversary, Derek. I love you always.


What are your favorite family traditions? I would love to hear!

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What do you think?

  1. Your great love blesses all that are touched by it! Some of my favorite traditions are weekly worship, daily scripture reading & check-in with the Lord, baking around the holiday, Black Friday shopping with family, Lenten reflections, and spring flower planting. All of them are opportunities to count my many blessings…

    by Carol Carter
    on January 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm

  2. Awesome post!!

    by Derek Hoffman
    on January 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm

  3. So sweet. And I just went back and read your wedding story for the first time–how fun!! We’ll have to talk about this in person the next time we get to share gluten-free pizza :)

    by Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy
    on January 7, 2013 at 9:13 am

  4. Thanks, Anne! Yes, let’s find a way to do that again soon! :)

    by Jennifer Hoffman
    on January 11, 2013 at 8:33 am