Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Ideal Christmas

My husband and I were talking last night about what kind of traditions we want for our own family someday for Christmas and I wanted to share those thoughts (mostly so I have somewhere to look up all of my thoughts lol), if you happen to see something you like, feel free to steal it!

I have to say, first of all...that when you get married, it's an interesting game of colliding view points and traditions.  I feel blessed that my family has always been of the "you're always welcome but never expected" school.  Growing up, we never spent Christmas with extended family, just mom, dad, and kids.  As we came of age, the 2/3rds of us in town have usually come by for some part of the holidays, but it's never a requirement and usually scheduled around the in-laws' plans.  As for my in-laws, they're pretty chill on things as well.  They don't demand specific times or activities, but like to see us at least some time during the fun of it all (we don't mind seeing them too much either ;)  This year is a little different for us as my parents have moved to Louisiana and we can't manage to fly us all there or them here this year.  We're spending a little more time with the in-laws this year, but we're also having my brother's family over on Christmas day.  Anyway...on to our "Ideals".

Santa: We've gone over this a lot since we've been married.  Do we want Santa or not?  We agree the most important part of Christmas is CHRIST.  But we also agree that Santa is a fun tradition.  Heck, we have several movies we watch every year with Santa...both of our families did the Santa tradition.  We agreed last night that we could plan to get the best of both worlds.  My sister and her husband wanted to make sure Christmas is Christ-centered in their home and have an open line of communication with Santa and the Easter Bunny.  They have asked them (S&EB) to please only bring small items so they could focus on what matters most.  It works well for them.  If they can negotiate with fictional characters, I think we can too!  We decided we'd like to ask Santa to come on St. Nicholas Day (December 6th).  We can have our decorations up by then, do the milk and cookies, etc.  The anticipation for HIS gifts will be well done with in time to allow us to focus on the true meaning.  We would also like the Christmas season to be filled with service opportunities, so he can leave a service-oriented family gift each year i.e. paper plates and cookie cutters to make cookies and visit elderly for things we can craft and donate, etc.  A great kick-start don't you think?

Working up to the Big Day: We'd love to do caroling, various service projects, going on drives to look at the Christmas lights, and advent countdowns.  I want to make some sort of "Names of Christ" ornaments or chain deco that we can look up scriptures as we count down.  I have The Forgotten Carols book and CD that I like to read and make/bought ornaments to match the story.  I divided it into 12 days (or it can be read all at once in about 2 hours). A tradition from my in-laws that we also continued when we were married is collecting a new Christmas ornament each year. 

Christmas Eve: I loved this idea about serving a "Bethlehem Supper"-eat on a blanket on the floor, eat foods that would have been eaten in Christ's time.  Read/act out the nativity story.    Since our first Christmas together, we started a "Gift to Christ" box.  Ours is a beautifully hand-carved box I bought in Poland when I was serving my mission.  Each year we take a piece of paper and write our gifts to Christ for the next year (basically spiritual resolutions).  We fold them up and label each one with our names and the year.  In the past, we've put that box with other Christmas items in storage each year, but now we've decided to keep that box out so that we can review our goals throughout the year.

Christmas Morning/Day: Gifts of course!  This time all from family (since Santa has already come and gone).  Before opening, we'd like to have a small devotional on the meaning of giving gifts at the time of the year, how it reminds us of the gifts we have been given by our Father in Heaven.  We haven't decided on a specific breakfast.  Crepes, omelets, casserole...I don't see any reason for anything specific.  Ideally, we'd like to keep our family festivities to immediate family at this point of Christmas Day/Eve.  If we're living in the same town as other family, we'd like to get together with them later on Christmas Day.

Sibling Gifting: I heard of a great idea about how to help your kids give each other gifts.  There's a family that I know that makes a "family store".  Basically you pick enough gifts that you know each child would want or need plus a couple more and their siblings get to go into the family store and pick out which they would like to be from them.  This helps the kids get what they would actually want or need instead of siblings using a couple bucks to buy something that either 1)they themselves actually wanted instead or 2)is just junk.  I think it helps cut down on little sister getting a lego set and cheap annoying plastics littering the floor ;)

Christmas Binders: Every year since our marriage we have written Christmas cards/letters.  In honesty, it's almost more for us than others!  We're both terrible at writing journals and it's a nice way to recap our year.  I always keep a copy for us.  Each child will get their own "Christmas Binder" from birth.  In it will go a copy of the Christmas letter, their "stocking letters" and other journaling they want to do i.e. write about gifts, activities we've done.  They can include pictures of festivities or decorations as well :)  What I mean by "stocking letters" is an idea we came up with last night.  If Santa is going to come almost 3 weeks early, what are we going to do with empty stockings on Christmas Eve?  Refill them?  Keep them empty?  We want to write letters to our children individually each year and put them in their stockings Christmas Eve.  The letters will recap their year, let them know how much we love them, and share our testimonies. 

I'm glad we've sorted out what we want to do before kids have come so it's not like it's hard for them to get accustomed to what we're wanting, because that's all they'll ever know.

Feel free to share some of your beloved traditions in the comments!  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

1 comment:

  1. Fun ideas!
    When I was growing up and while we lived near family since marrying we have always got together for christmas eve and acted out the nativity and shared talents. The nativity was my fav growing up. Christmas morning was for our family with visiting later on