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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Share your Christmas traditions

Jeremy and I have been talking about Christmas traditions for about 3 years. Once we began thinking about adding children to the mix, it became even more important to us to make sure our focus at Christmas was on Christ, rather than everything society likes to make it. I do still love the traditions of driving to look at Christmas lights and giving gifts to those we love. But I never want my little family to be so consumed with the other stuff that we miss out on the true meaning. So as Christmas is creeping up on us very quickly, my mind has been on this subject for about 2 solid months now. Because this is the year that is different for us. This is the year that a new little life will celebrate his first Christmas. And even though he won’t remember a single iota of his very first Christmas celebration, I still want to begin our family traditions this year.

For our family, I never want Christmas to be about the gifts. With that being said, we will probably always keep the gifts small and at a minimum. If we ever feel the need to do something “big” for our kids; that will probably happen on their birthdays. But my mind has been wondering, what happens when Holden is older and in school and Santa brings his friend the newest video game equipment or his own television for his bedroom, while Santa brings Holden a board game, books and a new movie. I just wonder how we will explain. I am beginning to think that Santa is going to complicate my attempts to make Christmas about Christ.

One thing that I decided that we will do beginning this year: each person will be given a gift that could aid in their spiritual growth. Maybe a new devotional, an inspiring book or a new translation of the Bible. This little gift will probably revolve around books, unless I can find some other creative ideas. A friend once said that growing up, they would open their presents. Then their parents would ask them which present they wanted to give away. And so they would have to choose one of their gifts to give away and they would take it some place. Not exactly sure where? Obviously a place where a child would truly appreciate it. She said, each year it was always so hard. But as an adult, she is so thankful that her parents taught her and her sister to give. I LOVE this idea and may consider it in a few short years when Holden can play along.

But I am wanting more ideas. What did your family do growing up, or what are you doing now, so that your hearts are fully celebrating Christ during this season? I want Holden to grow up and know from the very beginning that Christmas is not about him and certainly not about getting presents. So tell me your thoughts. What are your traditions?

10 comments:

Sew Infertile said...

One year growing up my family and a few others adopted another family for Christmas. I was 14 and bagging groceries at the commissary and I worked my butt off to buy toys for the children. I was older of course than Holden, but it was the best Christmas I have ever had. I don't remember any other Christmas than that one. It was amazing. We did everything, to Christmas dinner, sheets for the parents bed, to toys etc. That I thought was the true meaning of Christmas! My family ended up having a small Christmas but it didn't matter. I completely believe in a small simple Christmas. This year my husband and I will be home for Christmas. We have been traveling since we got married. So I am going to start thinking of traditions as well. :) Thanks for the idea!

everyday graces said...

i just wrote a huge long comment and my computer locked up, so I'll try to call you tomorrow and tell you what we do

Board book recommendations: What is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams

and Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck

Amanda said...

We had some friends that, as an exciting alternative to Santa, had a manger that magically showed up on Christmas morning under the tree. Then, they would tell the story of Jesus' birth first thing. Presents came later. I always thought this was kinds of beautiful.

You know our traditions, but I can tell you a few more when I talk to you later. I do think we will be making Hope's idea a family tradition for years to come. It is one of the best ways to deal with the Santa thing that I have ever heard of and it was handed to me by my four year old!

The Wier Family said...

Let me know what you find out... we're in the same boat with the beginning of joyful new Christmas traditions! P.S. What was Hope's great idea about Santa?

The Coopers said...

You know some of my traditions, one being we always make a birthday cake for Jesus. Carson helps make, bake and decorate and it is a great time of sharing the story of His birth. I actually just last week bought a new book to start reading at night for his bedtime. "The purpose of Christmas" by Rick Warren, not really a kids book, but an easy read for the family. The contens are The purpose, a time for celebration, a time for salvation, and a time for reconciliation. Its great!

April said...

Okay, I emailed you before I even read your blog. Wierd! We adopt a family with at least one kid around Grace's age. She goes with me to pick gifts for the little girl. It is difficult because she wants the toys for herself, but she is actually looking forward to it this year. She is starting to ask questions like, "Why do some kids not have toys?"

Molly said...

Several families already shared this, but we have had the boys help us pick an angel tree kid and then they help us buy the gifts (meaning pick out). Again, the boys want to keep them for themselves, but that's when we explain again what we are doing and talk about the true meaning of Christmas. We also only do stockings for the kids. They get so many gifts from other people and they are already overwhelmed, it's just a way to keep it simple. Our church does a the Christmas story live and all the kids where their jammies to come and watch and make ornaments and such. It's a blast and they love seeing the real animals and all! Yet another way to remind them what this is all about! Love the post!

Allison said...

Growing up we always did an Angel Tree Kid. Now, I take Thomas every year with me and pick an Angel Tree Kid about his age and then he "helps" buy the presents. I know he doesn't get it YET, but like you, I wanted to start it from the beginning.

The Curtis Family said...

I think we are going to do 3 gifts per child...based on the idea of the wisemen. One gift to represent gold, one to represent frankensence, and one to reprsent merh. Some people choose to get a bigger gift to represent that of gold, but I don't know that we will do it that way.

The Skains Family said...

We of course don't have too many traditions yet, and we also want to try hard to help our girls understand the true meaning of Christmas. We do have several friends here who don't do Santa at all. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but that's always an idea. Also, my sister has a friend who's family does 3 gifts per child to represent the 3 gifts the wisemen brought baby Jesus. I think that's a cute idea and Jeff and I have thought a lot about doing this also. It's so hard though, because I want to buy the girls so much! One thing that my family did growing up that I loved and will continue with my own, was Christmas morning when we woke up we would all pile on my parents bed and my dad would read us the Christmas story. We loved that as little girls. Then he prayed for all of us, and we would head down for presents. I just liked starting it off that way before we were all into opening presents. Whooo, sorry for long winded comment!