Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Traditions

I was talking to a friend of mine last week and I said "I love Christmas!" She responded with "Not me." And led into a discussion of the commercialism that Christmas has become these days. I completely agree about the commercialism but I just have to admit that I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I do hate that people get so caught up in we have to buy all these gifts and they have to cost *THIS* much money and all that jazz. It drives me beyond crazy! But I also have to admit that I like giving gifts to those I love. I love to see something bring someone joy. I think it is a love language thing for me. Now, don't get me wrong having someone tell me that we are setting a gift price limit of between this price and this price -- that annoys me just to be honest. I think that gifts should be from the heart no matter the expense. BUT I want to give people gifts and show my love for them. And I think we can relate it back to the GIFT of our Saviour from the Lord above for all of us. THAT gift cost more than any of us can even imagine, didn't it?!!?

Thinking about all of this has gotten me thinking once again about what we do that makes our children understand that this holiday isn't about Santa Claus (even though I'm ok with that see the above paragraph on gifts) but is about Jesus and celebrating HIM and His birthday.

I talked about a lot of these things here last year, but here is the list for this year.

On December 1, we began our advent devotions. We have an advent calendar that our kids open and we put pieces of candy or other very small gifts in each evening to count down the days til Christmas. On Christmas morning however, the last door is opened and there is the Baby Jesus that gets added to our Nativity Scene. The sweetest gift of all! I'm torn though. I feel like they look forward to the advent calendar because of the candy only; Not the devotions we do with it. I'm wondering if we should find something else besides candy to put behind the little doors....

This year, we area also doing this small Nativity entitled "What God Wants for Christmas". I bought this on clearance after Christmas last year. I love it because when you open the last box and answer the question "What DOES God want for Christmas?" there is a mirror so that your kids understand that God wants them for Christmas!

For our devotions this year we are doing The Jesse Tree devotions. This is new for us this Advent Season. I got this book, hoping to use it at church with the kids but didn't get to it this year. HOWEVER, my friend, Brandi, had a fabulous idea for a Jesse Tree swap - I fully intend to steal it for next year. Anyway, since I didn't get it all together until the actual day we were to start (such a procrastinator - I know!), I didn't have time to use actual branches like I wanted to. SO, I drew some branches and printed some ornaments from here and here and even drew a few of my own to go along with the devotions in the book.

What else will we do this year so that our girls know WHO we celebrate at Christmas?

Well - they are allowed to ask Santa for 3 gifts -- since the Wisemen brought 3 gifts for Jesus.

Also on Christmas, we will have a birthday party for Jesus complete with birthday cake and singing for HIM!

Not to mention that we will attend at least two of our churches three Christmas Eve services .The first one will be led by our band and I am way excited to at this one because they are awesome and they are learning a song that I had requested....I LOVE THIS SONG!!! And in the second one, my girls are going to be singing. I am such a sap these days. I tear up at the thought!!! Can't wait to see how sweet they will be! The last one is at 11PM and as much as I would like to make it to that one, my kids usually turn into pumpkins about 7:30 so we are pushing it with the second one......

I'd love to incorporate more though -- so, internet friends. Let's hear it! What are your Christmas traditions that teach your kids the real reason for the season?

in HIM -


Jen said...

This year we let Noah and Sarah look at the World Vision catalog and choose something to send to a child that doesn't have anything.Noah said he wanted to give a goat as one of his 3 gifts from Santa. Sarah chose ducks. Santa will still bring 3 gifts, but I thought it was awesome that he wanted to give one of his away. I am very much trying to make sure my kids think of more than just themselves. Looks like it might be working!

Wendy said...

My kids are doing Advent Calendars with chocolate. Yes, they are way more into the chocolate right now, but they're kids. At least they are being introduced into the advent season. Full understanding will come later when they're older.
It's really hard for them not to want everything they see at Christmastime because of the commercialism. And it's hard to explain that it's all about giving and not getting when there's so much commercialism...but we're trying.