Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I *love* just about EVERYTHING concerning Christmas. We really focus our attention on Christ during this season and I love how Ivory is so excited about baby Jesus. Of course, she's loving the Christmas parties, presents, and candy, too. =) I'm not gonna lie--I love the presents, myself! I love shopping for others, wrapping the gifts, stuffing the stockings, and all the excitement of Christmas morning! This year is especially fun watching Ivory getting so excited and into it all.

Are your presents under the tree?

I happen to LOVE traditions. If they're good ones, of course. =) I don't like when tradition gets in the way of spiritual growth & healthy progress, but I do love the richness of them, the memories, and the things they often teach.

Some that my family developed growing up ::

-Set up the nativity set and hide baby Jesus and only bring him out on Christmas--because as our childlike minds reasoned, he wasn't born yet!...of course it makes perfect sense for everyone else to be sitting there staring at...nothing.

-Buy a live Christmas tree and decorate it.

-Daddy reads the Christmas story from Luke 2 on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning to our family (which usually consisted of Mom, Debi, & I)

-Open one gift each on Christmas Eve

-Set out milk and cookies for Santa and carrots for rudolph...until Santa informed a mutual friend that he prefers Eggnog to milk & that rudolph doesn't really want carrots (we actually never believed in Santa but *loved* pretending)

-Open stockings first on Christmas morning, then presents.

-Special Christmas lunch consisting of whatever we especially loved as a family, examples: lasagna, cube steak and mashed potatoes.

-PJ runs! Something we started as teenagersour friends the Rebs. I have very fond memories of Danielle, Debi & riding around town wearing our pjs, looking at Christmas lights, with rolled down windows, sunroof open & blaring Christmas music as we sang along at the top of our lungs. SO. FUN.

I remember always being the first one awake and ever so anxiously waiting for my parents to give us the okay and we'd burst out of our rooms and run into the living room to view "the goods." I have to say, I still feel pretty giddy about Christmas inside on Christmas morning but manage to contain it (somewhat) so I look somewhat like a mature adult.

Some from Jason's family ::

-Shop for a live Christmas tree together the Saturday after Thanksgiving, set-it up and decorate it.

(baby Jason...Ivory thought it was Micah)
-Set up multiple nativity scenes--his mom collects them.

-His mom always puts this santa ornament on one present for dad from her. They've been doing this since their first Christmas together...4 kids and 5 grandkids later the tradition still lives on. (I'll have to get a picture of the little santa this year!)
-Christmas Eve service as a family. His dad sang a solo at the first service I went to with them--SO beautiful.

-Jason's Dad reads the Christmas story from Luke 2 to the family Christmas Eve.

-Open grandparent's presents on Christmas Eve.

-Wake up and open the stocking first--the one thing you didn't have to wait for, you could look in it before everyone else was ready.

-Eat a ham dinner with sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, yeast rolls (mom B makes amazing yeast rolls), charlotte russe, fudge, cheese ball, Nana Bennett's cookies, and whatever other goodies they think up (I think I now gain 5lbs+ every Christmas...thanks, I think). There are probably other ones I'm missing, but I'm just typing the ones I can think up on my own.

(Christmas dinner 2009)

Traditions we're beginning and repeating ::

-Set-up a nativity scene. I'm still working on finding/making the "perfect" one for us. Here's Ivory's for now.

-Buy a live tree to decorate as a family (Ivory's recent passion, "We do it all together as a family!" =)

-We buy a different children's book of the Christmas story each year and let the kids open it on Christmas Eve then we read it together as a family. Combines the Christmas story with opening one gift on Christmas Eve. This year I hope to incorporate reading the story from Luke 2 on our Christmas morning.

-Stockings first, then presents.

-Saving up and giving money to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering (goes to support International missionaries)

(from Lottie Moon banquet at church 2009)

-Helping with Operation Christmas Child at church.

-Christmas Eve service (our church or at Jason's parent's church)

(Christmas Eve service 2009 at our church with Cassie & Chrstina)

-Bake goodies to give out with thank you notes & the Christmas message of Christ & salvation found in Him to our friends, neighbors, doctors, etc.

We are still building our family traditions and deciding how things should go. We want to build some steady traditions but still keep the holidays open for change and flexibility. Most of all, we desire the focus of our Christmas to be on Christ and how he came to save us from our sins and set us free. We want to worship Him during the Christmas season and always. At Christmas, and throughought the year we look for ways to share His love, joy, and peace with those around us.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

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