Life has been pretty busy in our household, especially in the month of December. With a two-month old and a three-year old constantly seeking wholesome attention from their parents, Christmas preparation was quite a challenge.
Every family and household will observe their own tradition of Christmas. Be it decorating, giving or gatherings, each family has their own style. Despite the madness of sailing through December with our little ones, we managed to observe some of our family traditions.
1. Operation Christmas Child
Project Operation Christmas Child (organized by Samaritan’s Purse) is about packing gift-filled shoeboxes to brighten the lives of children around the world. Christmas is about sharing the joy and our family are always delighted to be part of this meaningful cause. Annakate did enjoy helping me to sort out things into the shoe boxes, although we are unsure if she fully understood why we were doing so. We tried explaining to her that these gifts are meant to bless little children who are not as fortunate as her. Maybe she will understand more next Christmas.
2. Christmas Decorations
Most families will decorate their homes in the month of December while crazy us (mostly me) will drag all the Christmas bins out of the shed and start decorating right after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, this year our outdoor power outlet is mysteriously broken so we couldn’t display any outdoor lights. I know some families get real Christmas trees to decorate but we choose not to because of Mike’s allergies. I love how our home lit up in winter, especially since the dusk sets in so quickly.
3. Christmas Blessings
One of our little family traditions is to make “gifts in a mason jar” for family and friends. These homemade gifts with a DIY touch are perfect for the holidays. There are many recipes that we can choose from.
Last year we made Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie mix and this year we made Toffee Blondie Bars mix. All these ideas were hijacked from Pinterest, if you’re interested in making some. We also wrapped up many Christmas candy treat bags to share with other children. We were glad to see Annakate’s eagerness to help in preparing those candy bags.
We also baked a lot during Christmas. Who doesn’t like to share all these yummy goodies with one another, right?
4. Christmas Gatherings
I’m a big ole’ fan of parties and gatherings, especially Christmas ones. The joy we exude into each others’ lives is precious and priceless. Every Christmas, I look forward to MUMS’ annual ornament exchange, our connect group Christmas gathering, and any other parties we would be invited to. Oh, the joy of feasting and sharing kindness is something I don’t want to miss.
So this Christmas, the MUMS’ annual ornament exchange was a little different than previous years because we did cookie swap as well. Hey, we can’t say no to sugar feasting in this joyous season, right? (Note to yourself: Diet starts in January!)
5. Christmas Gifts
Several friends asked for recommendations on what to give to our children. A few years ago, I came across a blog that encouraged us to focus on something more meaningful on what to give to our children during Christmas. Unfortunately, I can’t remember which blogs I have read. (You know, there are thousands of mama blogs out there!)
One of the suggestions was to give gifts in four categories: Something to wear, something to use, something to read, and something to play.
I thought this was a wonderful idea and a great guideline for us as parents who want to avoid ending up with more clutter. For the past few years I would shop all year round, finding the best deals and clearances, to gather my children’s Christmas gifts based on the four above-mentioned categories.
6. Christmas Eve
We have a church service on Christmas Eve, followed by homecooked seafood dinner. This year, we decided to open the presents after our Christmas Eve dinner (which we usually do on Christmas morning) because we hosted a Christmas breakfast gathering for my extended family.
7. Tacky Lights Tour
It is a must to drive around to see all the amazing light displays that people turn their houses into. Many people love bringing a little more joy to the season by creating something beautiful for everyone to admire.
8. Christmas with Family
Getting together with family is what I love most during Christmas. Sometimes we hardly get to see each other because of life.
L-I-F-E. Life has brought each individual away to pursue careers, studies, projects, etc; it’s only during special times like this that we are able gather with extended family.
The meals we share and the laughter we bring to the table are precious memories, especially with my babies.
In summary, Christmas is all about sharing love, joy, and kindness. After all, our Savior’s birth was a message of JOY to the World.
And this is how we gave birth to such Christmas traditions.
Having said that, with Asher being a toddler a year from now, we know that next Christmas will be an exciting one!