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Franklin Graham shares his parents' Christmas family traditions

Franklin Graham shares his parents' Christmas family traditions

A Billy Graham family gathering in 2003, four years before Ruth Graham passed away. | (Photo: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)

Franklin Graham says his mother, Ruth Graham, made Christmas a fun time in their home, but there's one tradition she shared that he hasn't continued. 

During an interview with Pastor Greg Laurie, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, revealed that his mother loved Christmas and would decorate the house for the holidays and even pretend to be Santa Claus. 

"I never could figure out why Santa Claus' notes always were in mama's handwriting,” Graham told Laurie while visiting his church, Harvest Christian Fellowship in California, as a guest speaker last weekend.

He joked that he was about 20-years-old when he finally figured that his mother was writing the notes pretending to be old Saint Nick.

But “we never lost sight of what Christmas was about,” he assured. “In the morning we always said a prayer before opening our gifts.”

Graham also revealed that the matriarch of the family kept some of her own customs from her childhood during the holidays.

“She grew up in China and their tradition growing up in China on Christmas morning, they would have oyster stew,” he explained. “I don't like oysters, they're slimy. I don’t know why anybody wants an oyster but anyhow, we had oyster stew and none of us ate it.”

Graham has four siblings, yet, none of them enjoyed that part of the festivities.

“Mama would cook a big pot and she would make it available but we all just went hungry on Christmas morning,” he said.

In 2013, the Graham family shared an extensive list on their website of other Christmas traditions they’ve enjoyed doing together.

Titled, “10 Graham Family Christmas Traditions,” the list also included activities such as making the manger scene an important part of Christmas decorations, enjoying Christmas music and carols, and reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke in the Bible while sitting in front of the family fireplace.

The list also revealed that the Graham family's most significant tradition is “thanking our Lord for His most precious gift, sending the baby Jesus to be our Savior.”

To hear more of Franklin’s talk at Harvest Christian Church, click here.


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