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Share Your Christmas Traditions

Written by Christy Martinez

As October turned to November, and Thanksgiving approaches, some of us have already turned our thoughts toward Christmastime, especially those of us who love the holiday season.

When thinking of Christmas, many of us have favorite sights, sounds and activities, whether they be stringing Christmas lights, searching for a tree, covering kitchen counters with cookies, wrapping colorful gift packages for the people in our lives or attending a Christmas Eve service.

For me, I think I would have to say it’s all of the above, and more. Our new family has grown from two to three with the addition of our baby boy earlier this fall, and he’ll be four months old at Christmas. My husband Scott and I are looking forward to starting our own family traditions, and I’m sure that some of them will be carry-overs from my own family’s traditions.

One of those traditions is the hot wassail recipe my mom makes every year for both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve – we’ve had that one for as long as I can remember. I’m not even sure where her recipe came from, but it’s one of those that’s cut from a magazine page and glued to a faded, dog-eared index card. Another component of that tradition was the old silver percolator with the cloth cord that she always used to make it. Unfortunately, that percolator bit the dust earlier this year, but, fortunately, I found a similar one second-hand so the tradition can live on.

Another Hemken tradition has been to get the biggest, tallest Christmas tree our house could possible hold. You can imagine my shock when, last Christmas, I returned home to Iowa to find the 2010 version was a mere five feet tall! Scott compares the tree I picked out for our house last year to the White House Christmas tree, but I absolutely loved it! I’m looking forward to seeing baby Levi’s reaction to the twinkling Christmas lights and shiny ornaments on this year’s tree – at least this December he won’t yet be old enough to get into them.

For as long as I can remember my family has attended and participated in Christmas Eve services. There’s something about all the hustle and bustle that comes before the holiday, and the chance to be still and enjoy Christmas carols and candlelight, coming back to the little baby and the reason for the whole celebration in the first place.

We here at the Roundup want to know what you love about Christmas, whether it is a specific activity or a treasured memory of a Christmas past. This year we’re holding a writing/photo contest for the cover of our Christmas paper, which will be the Dec. 24 edition.

To participate, submit a story, poem or other work of writing, accompanied by an original photo, painting or sketch. Deadline for submissions is Dec. 16. Send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail to PO Box 850, Casper, WY 82602.

The Roundup team will select a winner to be featured on the Christmas edition’s cover, while the runners-up will be featured in excerpt within the edition and all entries will be posted at wylr.net.

Happy writing, and we look forward to reading your stories and enjoying your photos and artwork!

Christy