Christmas is a special times for many families. We love to bake, shop and find special things to create family memories. Today we are talking about family traditions and we’ll make some pretty moss planters for your holiday table!

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Fruitful Vine Creations Design! ~ O Holy Night
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We love Tonya’s wall creations – simply beautiful! This design is 20.5″ x 10″ and the winner will receive a certificate via email to redeem their prize on Tonya’s site – AND they can choose which color they want for the lettering!



by Tonya Chapa
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time for the Christmas music, trimming the tree, Christmas shopping…
I’m not sure if it is because we moved so much over the years, and we wanted some sort of continuity for our children, or if it would have been this way anyway, but over the years we have collected traditions that remind us of our special days.
On birthdays, we hang balloons outside of our children’s bedroom doors with a balloon for each year that they are celebrating (3  balloons for our 3 year old, 15 for the 15 year old, and so on). Of course, if I didn’t know the kids got into the balloons and I only have 11 left but don’t realize it until midnight, the 17 year old only gets 11. Hate it when that happens!  This comes from Daddy always saying, “yes,” and Mommy not hiding the balloons very well. But I digress…
Another tradition we have is birthday/anti-birthday dinners. Daddy takes them out for their birthday dinners at some point, and I take them out 6 months later for their anti-birthday. We each get a one-on-one dinner with each of the children at least once a year. Kids get to pick where we eat. It’s fun moving from a restaurant with a play place to one without. Seeing them move from the kids’ meals to fancy fare is such a welcome!
At Christmas, I make a big deal about not playing Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. This year was especially difficult because Thanksgiving came so late. I tweaked it a bit and conceded to allow it after the Canadian Thanksgiving. I have some who groaned, and some who were delighted at the earlier playing of their favorite carols.
We try to trim the tree on Thanksgiving weekend at some point. Some years it is nearly impossible to get all the children home at the same time to enjoy this tradition. We managed to have the five who still live at home all here that weekend, so we went with it. We also enjoyed one of our other holiday season traditions: fondue!  Do you ever fondue? Oh, it is great fun. We have three courses: cheese, meat, dessert. The kids (and adults!) have so much fun dipping various breads, vegetables, fruit, cookies, etc. into the cheeses and chocolate. Oh, and we have sparkling cider with it! Such a fun treat.
When we travel during the year, we hunt for Christmas ornaments for our tree. We love to have keepsake ornaments  from all the various places we visit. Each year as we unpack the ornaments, the children delight over the old memories from years past. And I scramble to remember where I stashed this year’s ornaments since they didn’t get out when we took the tree down last year.
And each year, we have the maddening “cheap lights don’t work this year! Ugh! We have to take them off the tree and run out last minute and buy more lights, but never quite enough lights” tradition. {We think we are brilliant by not taking them off the tree each year, but instead store the tree all assembled, lights and all, in our storage room in the basement.} I tend to keep busy in the kitchen, my husband does yet another google search for one of those fiber-optic lighted trees for THIS year, and the sons are left to duke it out with the tree. At some point, we get the call to come examine the tree to see if the lights were done well. Ah! Perfection! See, that wasn’t so stressful!
It’s true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul.
Caroline Kennedy
We also have the tradition of getting the Christmas card out before Valentine’s day. And we remember that we had planned on getting our pictures taken in the Autumn with the beautiful colors this year to go on the card. So, we decide that in 15 minutes from now, we need to all be ready, coordinated in wardrobe, smiles on, good hair for the perfect Christmas card photo. I always just hope that this day falls on a Wednesday or Thursday because all the laundry should be done and ironed by then for the week. Catch me on the wrong day, and we may have a coordinated naked family picture. Not really, but it might be the only thing that actually matches and doesn’t need ironing. Although… if you look closely, you might disagree.
But seriously, we love our traditions. As quirky as they may seem to people on the outside of our little family. And I like to think that the kids love the traditions, too. They know what to expect. And they delight in it. I want them to have a strong bond with their family after they are grown and married and are starting their own families. I wonder which traditions they will keep, which they will ditch, and what they will adopt  from their spouses’ families. Because they will be a unique family, although connected to ours.
And I love to hear the memories that they share. And the things they expect. And the bonds that are so strong that are demonstrated by the silly things and the serious things. I wonder what our grandchildren will know about us after we are gone because of the traditions we shared with their parents. And I smile at the thought of it all.
My prayer is that the tradition of reading the story of the birth of Christ to the children on Christmas Eve will remain for a thousand generations. And the love that we have for this Baby who came to redeem us will thrive and grow in our grandchildren and their children. I pray that in all the silly traditions, that the important ones will remain forever. My prayer for our family is found in 2 Samuel 7:29: Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You, O Lord GOD, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever.
Merry Christmas to you. I pray that the traditions of your family will have purpose in building a unity with you and your children for years to come.

About Tonya: I am wife to Mike and mother to 6 delightful children plus one amazing daughter-in-law. We live life loving the Lord and each other.

You can read more about her and her lovely family at: and visit her online store:

Moss Candle Planter

These are so simple and fast to make! We didn’t even spend an hour making them, and they are gorgeous in the window. I think I want one in every window.
6″- 8″ Tapers – Your choice – we used beeswax sheets and rolled our tapers. Slightly fatter than a normal taper and very festive!
2 Terra Cotta planters – medium sized
White paint/contrasting paint
Stencil brush
Preserved Moss
You can paint these any way you want to. I liked the sponged look. Here is how I did mine:

1. Using a stencil brush, paint by dabbing the paint all over the planter for the first coat. Go down about an inch or so inside the pot. Don’t use sweeping motions, unless you want that look. Let dry. These dry fairly quick because the coat is so light.

2. Dab again, using the second color. Let dry.

3. Dab again, using the white, but don’t go up onto the rim, leave the second color as dominant on top.

4. Put a dab of glue around the edges of the bottom of the candle, and place in the planter. Push the moss in tight around the bottom, then loosely on top.

You’re done, and it’s so pretty!! I thought about varying Christmas colors for each room. Have fun!


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