My mother's parents, when their children were younger, would wait until Christmas Eve to decorate their Christmas tree - a German tradition (my mother recalls that this was particularly stressful). When we were growing up, we'd meet my Grandparents at the church and attend the candle-lit Christmas Eve service together. During the Christmas season we'd attend the light tour that they volunteered with.
Many of the hand-painted Christmas cards on the light tour were painted by my grandparents - and later, I helped too. I loved going through the light tour and seeing my grandfather's smiling face at the volunteer booth; handing out candy canes and welcoming people to see the lights.
As I think about my own home around the holidays I reflect on my own traditions and what I've implemented that carries on the memories of my loved ones. I put my tree up a little too early (my mother says I should wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving), I put Nativity sets around the house that my paternal grandparents made, I make sure that I go through the light tour that was so important to them and to me. I attend Christmas Eve service so that I can listen to my mother sing in German. And, I'm happy to think about passing on these traditions and new ones to the next generation.