One of my fondest childhood memories is my mom’s tradition of getting me a new set of pajamas each Christmas Eve (so I would always look good for Christmas morning pictures, of course!). In addition, my mother always bought us a new ornament for the tree each Christmas. By the time I was an adult and had my very own Christmas tree, I already had a tree full of ornaments that took me down memory lane.

Each year at Christmas time, family traditions are renewed or born. Some traditions are passed from one generation to the next: My children get new pajamas and ornaments every year.

But we create our own traditions too. A few years ago, my husband and I decided to limit the number of presents our children get on Christmas morning to three for each child. The number three is a significant reminder of the three gifts—gold, frankincense and myrrh—offered to Jesus. Within the family, one gift is from Santa, one gift is from the siblings, and the third gift is from us, the parents. Between aunts, uncles and grandparents, I promise my kids receive plenty of gifts. The best present: The real meaning of Christmas doesn’t become lost in the commercial world we live in today.

Each year, we also volunteer as “actors” in our church’s annual drive-thru nativity scene. We hope this helps to reinforce to our children the real “reason for the season.”

Local “Celebs” Share Their Yuletide Traditions

Want to know how some of your neighbors celebrate? Prominent Saline County residents, John Selig, Scott Inman and Yvonne Hendrix, shared their family Christmas traditions.

Scott Inman, a news anchor with KATV:

“My kids count on my mom’s Christmas cookies. They’re simple, frosted sugar cookies, cut in the shapes of Christmas trees, bells, stars, etc. No Inman Christmas would be complete without the unusual tradition of Raisin Crème Pie, either. It’s certainly not for everyone, but my great-grandmother made it as far back as anyone remembers. Though she’s been gone for 20 years, someone always makes a couple for the festivities.

“Every Christmas Eve, we set out the traditional milk and cookies for Santa, spread ‘Reindeer food’ outside, then sit down and read the true Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke before we go to bed.

“Santa is a little playful at our house. First, he wraps all the gifts under the tree, and sometimes he numbers them, requiring the kids to open the gifts in a certain order. Sometimes, he even leaves clues to find other gifts hidden throughout the house. It makes the gift opening time last a little longer.”

Yvonne Hendrix, Owner of Big Red gas stations

“Every Christmas Eve, the children and grandchildren who still live in Benton all gather at Granny’s. Granny, or Vernia Hendrix, had six children: Vernia Ann, Dallas, Dennis, David, Doug and Christy, who each had their own children. About 21 of us gather to enjoy a catered meal together from a local restaurant. After we eat, we all gather in Granny’s living room to open presents that the aunts and uncles have gotten the nieces and nephews.

“After the kids open presents, everyone goes back to their respective homes to wait for Santa. At my house, my mom always put those life-saver books in our stockings. So I have always done the same for my children.”

John Selig, Director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services:

“On Christmas Eve the entire family watches “White Christmas,” starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, while eating homemade cookies and drinking hot chocolate.”