It’s the most wonderful time of the year…and also the busiest. We recently had time to chat with Dick and Kestin Hempler and learn about some of their most well-loved family traditions – and also how they’re able to make time for them even when their business, social, and family calendars are packed.
The Perfect Christmas Tree
The Hemplers have a tradition of going into the forest, searching for the perfect Christmas tree, cutting it down themselves, and bringing it back home to decorate together. Instead of grabbing a tree from the store and hurriedly putting it up, this tradition turns the annual Christmas chore of decorating the tree into an intentional family event of memory-making and togetherness.
Purposeful Family Time
Every Christmas Eve the family gathers around the table for a traditional Christmas feast (featuring a Hempler’s ham, of course) and each person takes their turn sharing what they were thankful for throughout the year.
Even the littlest family members get their chance to share; some people share silly stories while others’ thoughts are more profound. And while the faces may change through the years as people get married and have to trade off the holiday with different sides of their families, it remains a special, meaningful time to slow down, gather together, and connect with the ones they love.
Hempler’s Best on the Table
I don’t think any family’s holiday is complete without the scrumptious recipes that make their appearance every year – and the Hempler family is no different. In addition to the Christmas Eve ham, Christmas morning also finds seasonal delicacies on the table.
Their holiday breakfast usually consists of Scandinavian potato sausage alongside traditional Scandinavian pastries like kringle.
The Reason for the Season
Traditions are wonderful, but sometimes finding time to squeeze them in amidst the rest of the holiday madness can feel overwhelming. When we asked Dick and Kestin how they managed to keep their traditions in the midst of their busy-ness, their response wasn’t surprising as it mirrors exactly the way their family already approaches traditions.
They advised that when things start to feel crazy, take a step back and remember what this season is really about – Jesus’ birth, family time, and meaningful traditions. It’s hard not to buy into the busy-ness and commercialism, and in order to combat that it’s necessary to be mindful of what is (and isn’t) important.
Family, food, and meaningful festivities are wrapped into the Hempler family Christmas traditions, making the holiday season intentional and putting the important things first. When you do it that way, it’s easier to find time to schedule other fun activities into the periphery – and decline those that don’t fit.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?