Lately I have been asked about our family’s Christmas traditions. While I do feel like we definitely have many events going on during December, when it came to actual traditions, I was a bit stumped. Once I rephrased the thought, I thought of all sorts of ideas. This is my take on what is important to me every Christmas.
Christmas would not be Christmas without …
Nativity Sets When I was in college, a family friend picked up an olive wood set for me when he was in Bethlehem. That has been the focus of my Christmas decorating since then. (Possibly my kids might argue about who gets to put it up every year, but that is for another post). Several nativity sets seem to be around the house. Gradually my kids are outgrowing the Little People Set that we have had for a decade. Love watching them act out the Christmas story in characters. As of last year, I do have a new favorite nativity set. One of my sons created a display out of cardboard. I am hoping that it lasts for many, many years!
Decorating our house from top to bottom. Besides the nativity sets, we do have several other fun decorations that help our home reflect the festive season. Well, at least the main floor is decked out anyway. (I have really cute decorations on top of my desk but they are a bit jumbled with all sorts of paperwork I need to get to!) My kids love helping with this project, but I must admit that I still am a bit persistent that certain items need to go in certain places.
Going to see the lights on display. I wish I could tell you that we bundle the kids up, grab hot cocoa and drive around for an evening of fun. We have never quite done that. But we do make a point of driving through particular neighborhoods when we are nearby certain displays. I love the lights at Christmas!
Devotional Readings For the past several years we have read through Advent chapter books by Arnold Ytreeide. We have loved his books, and they are quite suspenseful. Most importantly, they are based on Scripture. This year the kids opted to not do that since we would be re-reading books. Although due to various circumstances getting through that would have been hard this year, I have still missed it. Instead we have read portions of Scripture from various sources, and I am hoping to prepare a special family night around Adornaments from Family Life for tomorrow.
Okay, I must admit this one borders on ridiculous, but almost every day in December you will find my feet are rather festive. They make me smile. My husband is not such a big fan, and his mother (my mother-in-law) thinks that is funny. So she often buys them for me. My daughter has one or two fun pairs, and I know I need to buy more for her to carry on the tradition. 🙂
Christmas Cookies For many years, I have been involved with cookie exchanges. I think I am going to skip that this year too. For one thing, I am on a healthier eating plan. Having all of those cookies around is challenging since I love a good cookie. I am hoping to make some sugar cookie cutouts with my kids sometime soon. This is partially out of guilt, since I have been avoiding our cookie cutters for quite some time now. 🙂
Christmas Wreath No, not an evergreen one. A cornflake one. The kind that you make out of cornflakes, marshmallow, butter and green food coloring. I have to have this at least once a year. Lately, I have made this for the kids for our Christmas Eve breakfast. Hey, there’s cereal involved at least.
Family and Friends
Without people, there would be no celebration. I am blessed to have a great group of friends nearby that we get to do many mini-parties with. Our homeschool co-op party was really fun yesterday, and we had an informal get together today when half of our boys went on a field trip together. With the rest of the kids hanging out, it made for a fun morning! We are also incredibly blessed to have all of our family nearby. While this does result in several full days on our calendar, I know that I need to not take getting to see those that I love for granted.
The Celebration of Jesus’ birth
How do all of the above items fit together? Jesus. He is the reason that we celebrate Christmas. Each year that looks a bit different, but the key component to our plans for December is Jesus. While my kids are getting older and no longer doing as many cute Christmas crafts, I continue to want to incorporate more celebrations of the birth. While cookies are nice and socks are silly, Jesus is our reason for the season. As you can see in the picture, even our little nativity is waiting for Jesus to come. However I can reflect that anticipation of Christ entering into our lives will always be my goal.
P.S. This post was partially inspired by Patience Brewster. This one-artist company which features handmade ornaments asked me about my Christmas traditions. I was not compensated in any way for writing this post, nor do I own any of the company’s ornaments. Yet. They are rather whimsical and unique -a fun addition to any tree.