Saturday, December 15, 2012

CHRISTmas Traditions! Keeping Christ in the Holidays...

Is this what Christmas is all about?

Do you ever find yourself feeling rushed, stressed or even empty during the holidays? I know I have many times in the 13 years my husband and I have been married. Rushing from one families house to another and stressing about what presents to get whom and the commercialism of the holiday season is not what it is all about. It took us a few years to realize what we were allowing into our family were not traditions we wanted. We learned that we needed to make some changes, compromising by rotating holidays with family and lowering expectations about gift giving. We also wanted to make the Christmas season about Jesus (the true reason for the season). God gave us the greatest gift of all in Jesus Christ, His son, and we want to honor Him. Although Saint Nicholas is a historical figure (Read more on that HERE), he is not the meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. Here is a list of some of our family traditions during the holidays. Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know your traditions and what special things you and your family do during the holidays.

(This year was the most stress-free, low-key Christmas seasons we have ever had...I really liked it! Next year we hope to incorporate the Jesse Tree and I would LOVE to get The Christmas Angel, too!)

1. Christmas decorating-We start our Christmas season by decorating the house. We put up a Christmas tree, Christmas village, nativity scenes, & even mistletoe! (artificial)

2. Advent- My aunt made my family an advent calendar; the same one we had growing up! It is made out of cork covered with felt & my aunt found miniature ornaments/jewelry to hang on the tree.  The kids love putting the ornaments on the tree. They take turns every year putting the star on the tree.

 *-What God Wants for Christmas: We LOVED doing this together as a family!

Publisher's Description-
From the creators of Resurrection Eggs Unwrap the true meaning and wonder of Christmas with each gift box in this interactive, kid-friendly nativity. Build a family tradition with every reading of the poetic Christmas story written by Barbara Rainey. Included is a read-with-me guide to share Christ with listening children. The book's captivating illustrations, the six presents each containing a sturdy, hand-painted character in the story, and the pop-up stable scene will take children on the journey to Bethlehem's first Christmas. The surprise ending in box #7 peeks inside the heart of God. Children will enjoy listening to the beautifully produced dramatic audio presentation of the book's story on CD.

Click HERE
* A Storytime Advent Calendar: This is a yearly tradition for our family. We wrap Christmas books and number each one for each day in December, then on that day we open that numbered book and read it before bedtime. This blog is where I got the idea, however, I just wrap the books in regular Christmas wrapping paper and then write the number on the package with a sharpie.

3. Christmas movies- Watching Christmas movies in December is a tradition in our house. While my husband's favorite is "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation", I like the classic movies such as "White Christmas", "Holiday Inn" and some new favorites like "Christmas Lodge" and "Christmas Angel".

4. Christmas Lights & Caroling- We always make time to drive around and look at Christmas light displays. We have a "Christmas Tree Lane" close by and drive through that every year. Then we look online or find out from friends about new displays in the area and try to go to those too. We all love seeing the creativity put into the Christmas displays.
Caroling is also something our family loves to do. We surprise friends or family & show up at their homes caroling. Or we will go to a retirement home and sing for the elderly. Music brings such joy to people. I created a PDF of Christmas Carols for our church's Christmas program this year (we were roving carolers). As a gift to you all, I am giving you a free copy of it! Merry Christmas! Click on the words below to download:

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