If you are looking for something to add to your family gathering that brings depth of conversation and insight into each other’s hopes and fears, you should start this!
I have a favorite Christmas tradition, and one that I married into: The Groves family christmas box.
Every Christmas, each person in the family writes on a smaller piece of stationary for about ten minutes. During that time we are to write two paragraphs. The first paragraph tells of the things you are thankful for from the past year. Or just thanksgivings in general. The second paragraph are hopes and prayers for the year ahead.
That’s it: 1) what you’re thankful for from this past year 2) what you’re praying for in the year ahead.
Then the next year, we read those two paragraphs aloud to each other, each person taking their turn to read their own writing. It is so powerful. It is powerful to remember your own joys from a year ago and to remember burdens you were giving to the Lord. And even more amazing, to hear the hearts of every member of the family and the way God has moved in each of our lives in the 365 days since.
After we read aloud our paragraphs from last year, Lisa collects the papers, and puts them in The Christmas Box where they will be held with the previous 10+ year’s worth of thanksgivings and prayers. Then she hands out new paper and we write our words that will be read next year. Those, too, are then collected and put in the Christmas Box.
It’s the coolest tradition, trumps presents by long shot (in my opinion) and one that I think every family should begin.