Often people ask me if we have any Christmas Traditions. My answer is usually, "Not really." Then I start to tell the simple things we have done for the past 10-13 years...in fact these are our Christmas traditions. Our children confirm these are traditions when they say when are we going to do...or are we going to do...like we did last year?
So, what are our traditions?
-Sister shopping trip. My older sister and I take a day the first week of December and go Christmas shopping. Most of the shopping gets done on this day. We start early and end late. It is a great time.
-Cutting down our Christmas tree. As a little girl we would always go as a family and cut down our Christmas tree. This has carried over into our married life. The first weekend in December my entire family goes to a tree farm to get our trees.
-Christmas chains. The kids make paper chains to count down to Christmas (one link per day). Each day they rip a chain off.
-Christmas puzzle countdown. A dollar store puzzle broken down into 25 small stockings makes a great "advent calendar." Each day the kids dump out the pieces and add it to their puzzle. On Christmas morning they will add the last pieces to see the completed puzzle. I wasn't thrilled with my choices this year. I always love to get a winter scene or Christmas themed puzzle, but the best I could do for a dollar was toy story. Oh, well!
-Making Christmas cookies. Even Dad helps. We try very hard to pick a night for all of to make cookies together. More get made during the days leading up to Christmas, but it is a special time for us all to make cookies together. I usually end up rolling and cutting while Dad and the kids decorate...they are much more artist than I and they cookies always come out great.
-Movie/Present wrapping night. I guess not truly a tradition because we don't do it every year. I try my hardest to find a time when hubby and I can watch a Christmas movie and wrap presents together. It is fun and a big help to me. This year we watched "It's Wonderful Life" while we wrapped.
-Christmas Music. We listen to Christmas Music/CDs from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Some of our favorites: Christmas Carol, Harold the King, Christmas Sing-Along, Handel's Messiah, knvbc.com Revival Radio.
-Candlelight Christmas Eve dinner. Who would have thought this would be my son's favorite? Christmas day is full of visiting. We wanted to choose a time to have some quiet family time. We chose Christmas Eve for this time. Before our grandparents passed away we would sometimes visit them on Christmas Eve, but we always set aside time to have a quiet, candle lit dinner together. Even when the kids came we kept this tradition. We have added a few things like each person choosing a part of the meal and a birthday cake/dessert for Jesus. We put candles in the cake with a little nativity scene and sing Happy Birthday.
-Christmas themed devotions/family Bible time. My favorite Christmas book is The Christmas Story According to Luke. I love the illustrations. It is completely KJB scripture. We always read the Christmas Story on Christmas morning. I love this book because it illustrates what is being read. It is great for pre-readers. This year I found a book at CBD.com that had a poster with stickers. We have been using this in some of our morning devotions this week.
-Reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning. (see above)
-Christmas breakfast. Not much traditional about this except Sausage loaf. My mom always made sausage loaf (kind of like breakfast sausage meatloaf) around Christmas time. We usually have this as part of our breakfast.
-Christmas Day Visiting. Our Christmas day is a busy one. We start out opening gifts at home with the kids. Then around 11:00 or 11:30 we head off to my husbands parent's for dinner and exchanging gifts. We stay for a few hours then head over to my mom and dad's for a gift exchange desserts and light snacks. It is a full day, but I love it. I am very thankful we are close to both of our families for Christmas. It would be hard not to see everyone on Christmas day.
-The last and most important. Using Christmas as an opportunity. Christmas is definitely a great time to point lost people to Christ. I like to use it as an opportunity in our home to point the kids to Christ. To really emphasize what Jesus' birth truly meant for mankind. In a practical way it is an opportunity to teach the children about giving. How to give, how to receive, and manners. I always tell the kids we are going to their grandmas, to give them their gifts. Maybe they will have something for them and maybe they won't, but we are going to give to them.
I would love to hear your traditions or any ideas you may have. I have learned that some traditions we purposefully make, but others just happen. I think I like the ones that just happen best.
Have very Merry Christmas!!! Di