Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Building Christmas Traditions

In the beginning of our marriage, Christmas Eve and Day meant a lot of driving around to various family functions, stuffing our faces with rich food, and struggling to accommodate baby nap schedules. Due to some shifting of holiday schedules and our children getting a little older, the past couple years have been much different. Suddenly our Christmas Eve and Day plans are relatively open, and given that our children are now reaching long-term-memory ages, I’ve been thinking about trying to institute some holiday traditions for the five (almost six) of us.

We have a few traditions already which came about organically: 1.) We stuff stockings for The Feast of St. Nick on December 6th, 2.) We light Advent candles on Sundays, 3.) We tell the truth about Santa, 4.) On Christmas morning, the kids each get three gifts each to mirror the three gifts that the Wise Men gave Jesus, and 5.) We attend mass Christmas Eve and/or Day.  This year we also did Advent calendars for the first time, and thanks to the inclusion of chocolate, the kids made sure we didn’t forget!
This year, a combination of procrastination and intentional minimalism has lead to a much simpler Advent season. I didn't send out cards, step foot in a mall, or make any cookies or candy.
I was going to use this for a Christmas card. Then I decided everyone on my mailing list can just view them on Facebook!
Our massive Christmas tree stands in front of me completely unadorned. At this point, I think we might as well embrace the old tradition of not lighting the tree until Christmas Eve.

Also, our Nativity is still packed away in the attic…I’m going to go ahead and say that was intentional as well…I’ll get it out for the Christmas Season rather than the Advent Season.

For the past three years, I’ve surveyed Louisa about how Jesus would want to celebrate his birthday, and it has been interesting to see her answers mature. When she was two, it was a “Cars Party." When she was three, it was a “Disciple Party.” This year, “He just wants love.” A few days after asking her this, I followed up. “How do you think we can give Jesus love for His birthday?” She suggested we find a way to throw it up to Heaven for Him. I thought about releasing some balloons, but the farmgirl in me doesn’t want to litter our neighboring fields, so I think we may try to blow some love-bubbles up to Heaven.

(Oh, and this reminds me that I need to ask Vic how he thinks Jesus would like to celebrate His birthday!)

Obviously, our young family’s traditions are all a work-in-progress. I’d still like to add something special for Christmas Day itself, so I'm reaching out to you for ideas. What traditions does your family enjoy? Are you doing anything new this year?

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