Christmas Traditions – The Greatest Gift

Today’s post is a guest post from Tyndale employee Jamie Placeway.

Like many children, I grew up in a family that celebrated dozens of Christmas traditions. Most were relatively standard, such as baking fresh cinnamon rolls, wearing flannel pajamas, sipping hot chocolate while decorating the Christmas tree, or opening stockings filled with candy.

Other traditions seemed to be unique to our family, such as eating off-brand Fruit Loops on Christmas morning, or performing the Nativity story every year for our parents—complete with baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, an angel, a wise man, a shepherd, and a narrator. Of course this was captured on film for us to watch and laugh at years down the road.

Being the youngest, I was able to see our Christmas evolve every year. Christmas traditions slowly faded out as siblings were married and couldn’t make it home, and we stopped the Christmas play (it became hard to convince pre-teens to dress up and perform).

For many years, I struggled with the thought that yet another tradition would be lost or our family would not all be together. What would Christmas be without our normal, or not-so normal, traditions?

However, time has helped me to realize that Christmas is not rooted in these traditions. Rather, it is about one moment in history, one perfect gift—the glorious birth of God’s Son. The words of Ann Voskamp so beautifully reminded me of this truth in The Greatest Gift:

Christmas cannot be bought. Christmas cannot be created. Christmas cannot be made by hand, lit up, set out, dreamed up. Christmas can only be found.

In the crèche. In the cradling trough. In the mire and in the stench and in the unexpected—and only in the dawning of Christ.

Despite our circumstances this holiday season, Ann reminds us that Christ is the only one who gives Christmas its meaning. Her book takes us on a journey though the majestic lineage of Jesus, starting with Jesse and leading to the perfect gift of Christmas:

The Christmas candle burns hot, gives its light, gives its Light—and the world lights up, and Christmas goes on forever now.
Christ, the always Gift for all our days.

This Christmas will be the first one I celebrate without my parents and siblings in our home state of California. Rather, I am celebrating with my new husband and family here in Illinois. I am confident in the fact that, although I will be surrounded by different people in a new location, Christmas will always be the same—established in God’s perfect gift.

Beautifully designed and exquisitely written, The Greatest Gift is a treasured reminder that it is Christ and Christ alone who endows Christmas with meaning. The Greatest Gift is a timeless treasure your family will enjoy turning to year after year as you celebrate the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Order your copy of The Greatest Gift now (50% off this week only) as part of our Weekly Deal on

Adam Sabados

Adam Sabados

Adam is the Digital Media Coordinator at Tyndale. He gets to have fun running social media campaigns, and online advertising. Adam is a graduate of Malone University in Canton, Ohio where he majored in communication arts and was highly involved in the theatre department. He currently lives in Wheaton, IL with his wife Meghan, his son Luke, and their Cavalier pup Banksy. You can follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamSab where you can learn all about his latest improv comedy shows around Chicago, hear about the woes of Ohio sports teams, or catch an insightful blog post or two.