I love Christmas! It is the one time where people are a little more likely to be caring about others. It is the time when we can talk about Jesus, for the most part, without people getting mad. (yes I know the ACLU would like for us not to mention Jesus, but normal people don’t usually mind)
As a family we try to focus on worship, being together, doing things for those less fortunate, and celebrating Jesus coming to pay for our sins. We have some traditions, both old and new that have become part of helping make this a special time of year. On the day after Thanksgiving, we skip all the big sales and stay home. That is when we put out our Christmas decorations and put the tree up. I used to have this idea in my head of what a *perfect* tree should look like. Clear lights, all well coordinated ornaments, evenly spaced out. Something along the lines of this:Most of our nicer ornaments have gotten broken over the years. We have a tree full of glitter, popsicle sticks, craft foam, etc. And colored lights. The angel on top blinks. I do not like blinky lights. Either on or off, stay put!The funny thing is, the more we have this type of tree, the more I begin to think this is the most beautiful type of tree. I mean, on my * perfect* tree would there be any room for these?*
Another old tradition is our Christmas dishes. I got a set of Twelve Days of Christmas china when I was still a teenager. (not going to say how many Christmases ago THAT was!) The salad plates each depict a different “day” of Christmas. The boys eat off the plate with the number of their age on it. This year we have Samuel with “Six Geese a Laying”, Benjamin with “Nine Ladies Dancing” and Nathaniel with “Twelve Drummers Drumming”On a bit of a nostalgic note, this is Nathaniel’s last year to have a special plate.
We also do a LOT of cooking during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So far my kitchen helpers have helped me make:
We usually make chocolate (and white chocolate) covered pretzel rods, divinity, and Rudolph cookies.
Some of the newer traditions we have are more meaningful. Last year we did our very first Jesse Tree. We made some elaborate ornaments. Some of which are on our huge tree in the living room. The time-consuming ornaments are great when Mark is not working. They are not so bad when he is working day shift. But on the days where he works night shift, it is not much fun. Some days it felt more like a chore than a blessing. So this year we have toned it down and are coloring paper ornaments we got from here. So this year is much more laid back.
Something that is very exciting is our newest tradition. We are doing an Advent Calendar. I saw this last year on Annemarie’s blog. The cups are big enough to hold three pieces of candy. So each boy gets a piece every day. We have Reese’s Cups in some of them and they are holding up just fine. There is a little lesson to go along with each day’s cup. You take the candy out and put something else back in its place. On the first day we put back a quarter to remind us we have 25 days to celebrate His birth. Today we put back a grape Laffy Taffy. (grapes can be used to make wine, but Jesus did not need grapes to perform His first miracle.) Tomorrow we will put in a smiley face. Or a heart, I can’t remember. Anyway, the boys look forward to candy each day and to see what they get to put back and what it has to do with the Christmas story. Traditions are wonderful way to make memories with the ones you love. Hope you and yours share lots of love during this season.
* top to bottom: A Christmas tree Mark made in Kindergarten, Benjamin in first grade, Nathaniel in second grade, Samuel’s lion and scepter, Samuel dressed as a Care Bear wrapped in a box, 2006, a Santa I made in second grade