But amidst all the hustle and bustle and fairytale feelings, it can be easy for me, even as an adult, to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
Last year Matt and I spent a lot of time talking about ways that we can make sure that even though all this other stuff is fun, Christ remains the focus in our home. Here's a few Christmas traditions we came up with or copied off of others:
The day after Thanksgiving gift- We like to decorate and get all of our Christmas stuff out the day after Thanksgiving. That's when Christmas officially starts for us. One thing we decided to do is to give a collective gift to our children on that day that focuses on Christ and that they can enjoy the whole season and help them focus on him. Ideas include: books and videos about his birth, ornaments (I just saw a super cool set at Hobby Lobby today that could be used to decorate a tree in their room... maybe next year?:)), toys (We really like the Fisher-Price Little People Nativity Playset, advent calendars, puzzles, activities, etc. Each year that stuff comes back out and you add something else to it and the idea is that they'll be surrounded with fun things that celebrate Christ and will remind them of the meaning of Christmas when they see and play with them.
Three Gifts- Several people have given us the idea of giving 3 gifts to each child to represent the 3 gifts the wise men gave to Jesus. Nothing spiritual about it, just another reminder. This year with Isaac, we got him some "smaller" gifts (puzzles, videos and board games). Because none of them were super expensive and our budget this year allowed it, we got him several of each and we're wrapping them as "themed" gifts. Silas is getting 3 "bigger" items.
Santa- How can you not love that big, jolly guy? We struggled with how to allow Santa Claus to be a part of our holiday season without him stealing the show. We finally decided on stockings. We got these super cute stockings last year with Santa on them and each year on Christmas morning they will find it stuffed full of fun things from him. We really don't want to be Scrooges, but we do want to be Christ centered. Everyone has their opinions on this, but this is what we've decided for our family and I'm super excited about it. Isaac's getting some Thomas trains in his this year and I'm pretty sure he'll be more excited about those than anything else he gets. Silas, well, he's getting a rubber ducky and some socks. :)
Breakfast- This year we'd like to implement a fun breakfast tradition. To minimize stress on an already crazy morning/week, I think we're going to do cinnamon rolls out of a can. When it's time to eat we'll light a candle and sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. Quick and fun and one more way to bring it back around to the reason we're celebrating.
Reading the Christmas story- Of course we'll be reading the story of Jesus' birth a lot over the next month, but when I was growing up, we always read the story out of Luke before we opened presents as a family. I like that idea and think we'll continue it with our family, though we may use a more toddler/baby friendly version for the next couple of years.
Theme days- I'll be doing 1 or 2 themed Christmas days with Isaac to reinforce what he's been learning about the birth of Christ.
So that's how we're going to try and stay focused this year and how we hope to pass down to our children the amazing Gift that was given to us by our Father at Christmas time. What are some of your traditions that help you celebrate Jesus? Does anyone have any good traditions that they have between them and their spouse? I'm all about getting some more good ideas and tweaking or changing or adding to what we already have!
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