09 December 2008

Festivities Have Begun

Hello friends, family, supporters and curious Wiley-onlookers! In case you don't know this, Christmas festivities have begun in the Wiley home!!! This will be our first Christmas in the Metroplex and, more importantly, Laura Kate's first Christmas ever! We are so excited about how great this Christmas season already has been and will be as we get closer and closer to the 24th and 25th (and then the 27th and 28th for when we're in Lubbock). Our advent calendars have been printed off (thanks Providence!), our Tannenbaum is twinkling and set and our fireplace has begun to be used at least a couple of times per week.

With having our own family, there are several traditions that we are looking forward to beginning with our daughter. It's during this time of year, as well, that I remember so many great traditions within my own family from when I was younger. Carrie and I talked about these just a few nights ago, here are a few from my family that I hope might one day come back around:

1. Yule Log / Christmas Eve fire - although it was never actually called the "Yule Log," we almost always had a fire in the fireplace at my grandparents' house in Lubbock. Regardless what the outside temperature was, there was usually a fire going, the lights were dim, and there was tobacco smoke in the air. It was the comfortableness of the atmosphere that really sticks in my mind. Being together with family like that, occasionally singing Christmas carols or just being together, makes me really miss those nights. We will definitely have a fire in the fireplace this Christmas Eve.

2. Christmas Eve service - the traditional Christmas Eve service was huge for our family. We would all carpool to FBC in Lubbock and enjoy the traditional celebration of carols, candlelight, and communion. We would then conclude it by going to look at Christmas lights in several Lubbock neighborhoods. Providence, as well as our brother-in-law, Curtis's church in Rowlett, have Christmas Eve services.

3. Texas Bingo - we used to play numerous games at my grandparents' house... Yahtzee, SkipBo, Uno, a plethora of other card games, Balderdash and dominoes. But, the main game that we always, ALWAYS played, was a game called Texas Bingo. If you're not familiar with the game, it involved typical bingo cards with historical Texas figures on them. From Spindletop to Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Astrodome to "Yay University!" (my grandfather was a Texas A&M Fightin' Aggie, through and through), I can remember my grandfather drawling out the words in an exciting buildup to the first "BINGO!" of the night. There was always a prize for the winner, and always at least six or seven games. I think it is also due in part to this game that I have a love of history, as there was always a historical note on the back of the card. I am excited for the games we'll play this season.

4. Biscuits and Gravy - Although my dad doesn't do just a whole lot of cooking, one thing that he makes, quite possibly better than anyone I know, is biscuits and sausage gravy. The tradition at his house is waking up on the morning of Christmas Eve and celebrating with a breakfast feast, with biscuits and gravy as the coup de gras. Usually, this feast consists of: two types of juice, milk, hot chocolate, coffee, sausages, bacon, eggs, pancakes or waffles, fruit, syrups, jam, butter, and then the all-important biscuits and gravy. I'm hoping to begin making it for my family, this year (if Carrie doesn't!).

5. Simple family time - The festivities at my grandparents' house would usually begin between 3:00 and 4:00pm and last until the hour between midnight and 1:00am at the earliest (from what I can remember). The whole first few hours was spent simply relaxing together, building the fire, sipping hot chocolate, wassail, or a Coke, and playing games. After the trek to church service and to look at lights, we would come back for the Christmas Eve feast of ham and a host of other foods, followed by presents, carols, more games and talking, and a last relaxing sit by the fire. I loved the simpleness of this time. Nothing was incredibly rushed, even trying to get 20 or so people out the door and to church. I pray that my children might grow up in this kind of atmosphere.

6. Christmas Light Gazing - Up and down the streets of Ransom Canyon and Lakeridge we would go, usually in a caravan of five or so cars, in order to look at the traditional lights and the new ones that anyone else might have put up. I always opted to ride with my grandparents in their Cadillac: the whispers of my grandmother's cigarette smoke reaching back to me despite the cracked window, the oldies AM radio station playing one big-band Christmas tune after another, the comforting ways in which my grandfather spoke, drove, and pointed out different people's houses he knew (whether with business associates in the energy market, people in the medical field, or just good ol' boys from the golf course, my grandfather knew many people and had many friends)... they all were a part of the crescendo of joy awaiting us at their house. Being new to the Metroplex, I'm hoping that we might be able to find several different places to go look at Christmas lights that aren't too terribly far from our home in Little Elm.

There are plenty of other things that I hope to do as "traditions" with my family during this time of the year, but, these are the ones that I look back on with the most nostalgia; the ones that make my heart hurt a little in missing them and wondering why I haven't done a better job of continuing them.

I'm looking forward to an incredible Christmas-time, even though, for whatever reason, I'm missing some of my family (most notable my mother and grandfather). Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. hey kyle, those sound like wonderful traditions...sure turn into wonderful memories for you guys and especially for laura kate. i would love to have some of your dad's biscuits...my dad makes some pretty good ones too ;)

    hope you, carrie and the little one have a great holiday! God Bless!

    ~the boyers
    (gary, toni and alayna)

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