Our Christmas Traditions

The holidays are steeped in tradition for most people, and we definitely have a few of our own! First, let me say, I LOVE the holidays! The months of October to January are my favorite months of the year! I love the decorations and music in the stores, the displays in people’s yards, the baking, cooking, planning etc….I know this time of year stresses a lot of people out, but I really just enjoy it!

I will say, that we do tend to limit our Holiday activities to just a few. There are only a few Christmas parties that we go to, and a few other holiday events we participate in. We do this in order to keep ourselves from getting too “busy” so we can focus on enjoying how we are spending our time, rather than worrying how we are going to fit multiple events into one weekend!

We always get our live Christmas tree Thanksgiving weekend. This is a tradition my husband and I started the first year we were married. There was a Christmas tree lot right outside the entrance to the apartments we were living in, and we decided to buy our tree from there. We found that our tree actually lasted the whole Christmas season…maybe because we got it fresh off the truck? At any rate, we have continued to buy and decorate our tree the first day my husband has off on Thanksgiving weekend, and our boys look forward to this every year.

We have various other traditions that continue throughout the season, like our nightly Advent readings and our Advent calendar. We also watch Christmas movies together,ย  go on a yearly light drive (there are some really cool houses with awesome decorations in our area), and my kids love that they get to drink hot apple cider while we read Christmas stories!

Our Christmas dinner traditions revolve around my husbands work schedule. As a firefighter he works 24 hour shifts. Typically, his shift works Christmas Day two years in a row. In those years, we open presents with grandma and grandpa Christmas Eve, and have dinner with the family. On Christmas morning, we get up REALLY early, before my husband has to be at work, and open our presents together. Then we go to the station later in the day to eat Christmas Dinner there. I do miss my husband when he has to work the holidays, but I am very thankful that he has a job that allows us to still spend that time with him!

One last tradition we have is that my boys get to choose a new Christmas ornament for the tree each year. We’ve done this since they were each 6 years old (after those “Baby’s 1st Christmas, Baby’s 2nd Christmas etc. etc. run out). We always write their names and the year on their ornaments. They love choosing their own special ornament for their tree, and my plan is, when they do get married and have their first Christmas in their own house, I can give them these ornaments to put on their own tree. Think about it….typically that first Christmas you have as a married couple, you are short on ornaments because you just haven’t had time to accumulate them yet. This way, each of my boys will have ornaments to put on their tree that will carrry special memories for them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Merry Christmas to all of you!

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The Holidays in our School

This time of year, I always search for ways to incorporate the study of Christmas into our schooling and day to day lives. I find it is so easy to get caught up in the Holiday madness, and we often lose sight of WHY we are really celebrating at all.ย  This year, I’ve found a few things we are using to help keep our focus on Jesus, and our eyes on what the true meaning of Christmas is.

For starters, we are taking a break from our usual Bible study this month and instead are using Notgrass Company’s Celebrate the Savior unit study. My boys are both really enjoying this! The unit study contains lessons about the history of Christmas, Jesus’ birth, and Christmas traditions from around the world. It has lots of crafts, which my kids really like, and so far, we’ve made baby books for Jesus, and are currently working on a book about holiday traditions from around the world. The books my boys made are really nice, and will make a great keepsake for them. This is a fun way to start our school days in December.

After doing some research, I was also able to find a few books at my library that we are using for our evening story/bible time. The first is Celebrate Jesus at Christmas. This is a family devotional book with a reading/activity for each night of advent. The book includes Bible readings, discussion questions, songs, and a really neat study of the events leading up to Jesus’ birth. As you read each day, you slowly set up your nativity too. Currently, we have the animals in our stable, with Mary and Joseph on the bookshelf making their journey toward it, and the shepherds and wise men inย  various places waiting for their turn to take part in the celebration of our Lord’s birth. My older son made the comment that “It’s cool to see HOW everything is taking place” ๐Ÿ™‚ They both look forward to each nights reading to see how we are going to move things along!

We are also reading The Angel and the Christmas Rabbit, which I think I am just going to have to order from Amazon! It’s the cutest book of 24 advent stories, and my kids love it. They take turns reading the short stories, that are basically a conversation between a little angel and an old, wise rabbit. The stories go along well with our Bible readings.

For my own personal Bible study this month, I have been reading Pocket Full of Christmas a devotional book with a different study for each day of December. This book touches on a lot of different topics, but is really about keeping the focus on Christ during the holiday season. This has been an awesome way for me to start each of my mornings. I have really been able to delve into God’s word, and focus on savoring the joy of the birth of Christ each day.

My goal for this Christmas season is to live each day with joyful anticipation of Jesus’s birth. I don’t want to stress about gifts, decorations, parties etc…and find that once again, another Christmas has passed me by without me being still enough to enjoy it!!