Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas Traditions

I read Mitten Strings for God (this book is practically scripture for me - I love it!) again last week for book club. I am glad that I had the chance to read it during this time of the year. It helped me to think about how I want to celebrate Christmas with our family. This will be our first Christmas with no family close by and I am wanting to make sure that our Christmas traditions help us focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Joshua was saying today how he was looking forward to Christmas because he will get lots and lots of presents. And while I don't plan on stopping the gift-giving, I hope it's about more than that to my kids.

So, I'm asking for help. What have been your favorite and/or most meaningful Christmas traditions?


liz said...

I have been quizzing my kids about traditions, because I'm a little tired this year, and I want to keep things as simple as possible. It's interesting to see which things are important to them. I think being Christ-centered is very important, but I also think you are making important memories when you are just having fun, so never be afraid to do that! We take our kids to the Festival of Trees every year and remind them that the money we spend there is helping sick children who would like nothing more for Christmas than to be healthy. I think that's a good start. We have a little nativity program we always do on Christmas Eve, so that is our most Christ-centered time. I take my kids shopping to buy gifts for each other, which is a royal pain, but I hope it helps them remember that Christmas morning isn't just about what they are getting. As my kids get older, I'd like to add some more elaborate service activities to our traditions, but I'm not sure this is my year for that. I don't think anything we do is terribly unique -- I'll be interested to see if you get some good comments from creative moms about this.

Nisa said...

I was the youngest in my family and often too little to afford gifts. But I didn't let that stop me. I made gifts for my brothers, painted pictures, gave them coupons for back rubs, and provided service.

I'm sad to admit that they rarely appreciated my offerings. But it made such a difference in my heart to serve them and it helped tremendously increase my love for them.

Sometimes I would pick one of them and be an angel for a month, quietly going about doing nice things. I've often wanted to do that when my kids are old enough so that no matter their age, they can take part in the gift giving to their siblings and maybe unwrap the surprise of their angel doting on Christmas morning!

Honey said...

I've enjoyed this tradition for years now. My dad would softly play Silent Night on his guitar while someone would read Luke 2. Growing up as kids (and now with kids), we reverently act out the Nativity. I have always loved the gentle music added to scripture, especially with the birth of Christ.

Some of the most memorable Christmas' I remember are those where my parents provided service opportunities for us to participate in. When we lived in Regina, one year we went as a family to serve Christmas lunch and sing to the men at the Salvation Army. Another year, our family was asked to do a live, still Nativity at the Parliament Building. The church up there would also put on a live nativity with real animals reading the story from the scriptures. We were able to do that. In Michigan, my parents, my sisters and I went around the mission and delivered the packages to the missionaries. I have loved these experiences!

It's been a little tougher to actually start our own little family traditions it seems. But for the past couple years now, several family home evenings have been dedicated to Christmas and the real meaning of it (they somehow forget..). It's not about Santa (although the idea of Santa was started by someone who enjoyed giving), but about our Savior and how we remember Him, and how we can give and share not only within our family, but to those around us, especially the less fortunate.
(sorry for the novel!)

Sarah R. said...

Your memories are probably similar to mine, but you never know. I always remember having the Italian bread on Christmas morning and the Christmas Crackers, and so that is something I make sure we do every year. I think I'm the only one who really enjoys the Pannettone, but at least it's something from my youth. Doug's family always put pop tarts in the stockings, so that's something he does. I thought it was weird the first year, but now I just go with it.

I also love making Christmas cookies. It's a pain with the kids, but I love the smell.

It doesn't really feel like Christmas here because it doesn't get very cold, but I love to go and look at all the Christmas lights, and they do it up here.

We're trying to be simple this year. Not as simple as you, because I don't have the patience to be crafty right now, but we did decide to just do one gift for the entire family. It should make it easier for us, and hopefully that will allow us to enjoy the season a little bit more.

Let the party begin... said...

We have several traditions that are close to our hearts. I know one of the kids' favorites is when Santa calls them every christmas eve before they go to bed...Darren would climb out the window after going to bed and call from the neighbor,s house. When the kids were younger they would rush off to bed when Santa told them they had to go to sleep. One is when we take all the children ranging from ages 22 to 8 to the dollar store and give them each $10.00 to spend on one of their siblings, their grandparents and their parents. It is always fun to see the excitement come over them when they pair up with the ones who's name they don't have and try and find the perfect gift. We also have an annual get-together with with all the siblings on both sides of our families along with their family and have a potluck at our home and then go see the nativity pageant at the church. Another great tradition is bringing out the nativity set that I bought in the first years of our marriage and the kids gently put it on the mantle, piece by piece leaving baby Jesus for the last and last but not least having Darren read the story of the Savior's birth on Christmas morning before we open our gifts one by one.

The Bredensteiners said...

we would have birthday cake/cupcakes for Jesus' b-day the week before christmas then we would write our "gifts" for Jesus on slips of paper and put them in an envelope; the next year we would open it and see if we were able to really give the Savior what we promised then do it again! i loved it as a kid. also, we acted out the nativity every christmas eve- which we LOVED and made priceless video footage.