The Legacy of Nana: Christmas Traditions That Matter

This is my husband’s cherished grandmother, who he called Nana.

John's Grandmother Nana

She was full of life and love for everything Christmas. When she passed away years ago she left a hole in the family. Of course there were memories that remained and a few cherished Christmas decorations, some of which we have.

We have a set of carolers and a replica of the church she attended for much of her life. Every time we pull them out John tells stories of his Nana and all she did to make his life extra special.

Best of Nana Church Best of Nana Carolers

These are the kinds of Christmas stories I love. Ones of family getting together and sharing a special time together. Stories of John and his nine cousins shopping with his Nana and then wrapping presents while drinking hot cocoa. He remembers her telling the Christmas story using a nativity set much like the one we have.

Nativity Set

We try and replicate some of her traditions by putting our Christmas village under the living room tree like she did and then telling a story about the village – using our kids names as the children in the village scene.

Christmas Tree with Village Underneath

We also go a little overboard with the decorations as you can see by the fact we have two MORE trees in our house. One in the foyer and one in the family room. It’s excessive but we have collected the ornaments over our 26+ years of marriage. Plus, I found each of these trees at a garage sale for less than $20 each. I do love a bargain.

Large Foyer Tree

Family Tree

Christmas and the holiday season is more than just a day. It is more than just a meal. It is a time for reflection, for faith, for enjoying family and friends, and building traditions of your own.

I want to encourage you to not stress over holiday food and instead place the stress of these holidays on focusing on what and who is important to you.

John and I always say that even if we had no Christmas decorations or presents to give our kids, we would always have the Christmas memories of past years and the hope of more Christmas traditions to establish in the years to come.

Blessings to you on this holiday season. I hope that you have a lovely, tradition filled day. Diane

12 thoughts on “The Legacy of Nana: Christmas Traditions That Matter

  1. Natalie says:

    We are travelling this year to see family in another state (we host every second year) and we always take a little tree with us so we can still have the whole experience even at the hotel.

    One of my favourite Christmas memories of my childhood is how my brother and I would practice our run from our bedrooms to the tree in the lounge-room, cutting corners and jumping down stairs to make it to the presents in the quickest possible time. We had a rule that when one of us woke (as long as the sun was up, pretty early in an Australian summer) they had to wake the other one – but not mum! And we’d sprint together to the tree.

  2. Maren says:

    Diane, I hope you have the most wonderful holiday season.

    I agree, it’s not about the food first and foremost. I used to dread Christmas because I’d gain so much weight stuffing my face. Now that I’ve stepped away from that stress I’ve stayed the same weight throughout Christmas. I enjoy the time I have with family, food is secondary!

  3. Hope K says:

    Your husband’s grandmother looks remarkably like my grandmother did. She was a beautiful woman. She taught me how to cook and how to look good, no matter your age. Yesterday I was baking cookies for a friend and talking about how she taught me to do it, and I missed her very much. I used to see her every Christmas. I miss her so much.

  4. L says:

    Christmas traditions are important. For me, they work as both an anchor and a reflection of my family and my faith. We didn’t hear much about faith in my house growing up, which is why I make sure the crèche is one of the first things we put up every Christmas. I have a Playskool set in my living room for the lil ones to interact with this year. I love hearing them talk to the animals and the wise men, and wonder, what are they saying in reply. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, Diane!

  5. GiGi Eats Celebrities says:

    Such amazing memories. Nana sounds like such a great woman. I too have plenty of memories that come with Christmas. My mother’s mother was Santa Claus. Unfortunately she passed away last September. My sister has taken on the duties of my grandmother for many years, but I will always remember the car loads of presents my grandmother would bring… And we would then eat Lobster! ha!

  6. Kim says:

    I love what you said about Christmas being so much more than a day – more than decorations and gifts for sure. I agree that it is about faith, family and the traditions that have been passed down.
    I love that Nana took all her grandkids shopping – when I have my own grandkids I would love to start that tradition.
    And, the village under the tree is awesome!!

  7. Kyra says:

    We um… have a tree in every single room. *ahem*

    I like the idea of the village at the base of the tree, as we couldn’t figure out where to set it up this year! Only problem – how to keep the animals out of it?

  8. L says:

    Thank you for a year filled with healthy wisdom, Diane, and for making sure we all have the ability to profit from that wisdom. I’m hoping for a very Merry Christmas at the Carbonell house. Be blessed and enjoy the time together! Can’t wait to see where 2014 takes us!!

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