Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Traditions, Part I

Logan and I have been married 8 years now, and it seems our Christmas traditions have slowly evolved and are still in the process of evolving, especially with our children. I thought I would share some things that are definite parts of our yearly Christmas traditions now.

Since having children, we have made it a point to celebrate with Advent. I realize Advent can signify different things for different families and there are many variations on the theme, but we begin December 1 by telling the linage of Jesus as outlined in the Bible and then follow with creation, Old Testament stories that help to illuminate the coming of Christ and His various attributes, and we then go through Christ’s birth, life, sacrifice, and resurrection. Because we add Christ’s life beyond his birth, we go beyond December 25. I have a neat calendar I purchased and assembled with ornaments for the kiddos to keep as a family heirloom, and Logan and I use an adult devotional book to supplement what the kiddos are learning. The boys are also doing a daily craft—nothing big, just something small each day—to help reinforce the daily scripture.

After having kiddos, I realized I wanted to stick to stories and traditions that reinforced why we were celebrating Christmas, so I go crazy over anything that is related to Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts” version of the Christmas story. (This may also include being a sucker for any Hallmark “Peanuts” Christmas products for my kiddos….)

I have also changed the way I decorate—we keep it pretty simple and have actually gotten rid of things we used to decorate for Christmas at the beginning of our marriage. Each year, we try to add a crèche, or nativity. We have plenty of child-friendly ones because that’s what it’s all about during this stage in our lives raising young children. I gifted Logan with our favorite one we have last year, which will also be a family heirloom and a timeless version we will always use. Logan and I try to keep these in places where the kiddos can interact with them and ‘act out’ the Christmas story.

Our favorite crèche...

Because I love plants, I grow red amaryllis bulbs each year indoors and also plant fragrant paperwhites, which bloom in early January. The kiddos love to watch the plants grow each day and help me tend to them. I also enjoy poinsettias.

Of course, we keep lots of books, movies, and music around. I usually play Christmas music on the piano each evening (I have accumulated quite the Christmas library over the years!) and we have sing-a-longs. Now that Weiss is older, it is rewarding to explain some of the words and lyrics to him and tell exactly what they mean. Some of our favorites are “O Come, Emmanuel” and “O Holy Night.” Of course, the kiddos love “Away in a Manger.”
(post to be continued….)

So---it’s been a loooonng while since I have last blogged. I have realized for quite some time I needed to get back to it, not only because it is a great way to hash out my thoughts and ‘de-stress,’ but as I go back and read my previous blog posts from many moons ago, I am flooded with happy memories that I would have lost had I not documented them. Rereading and perusing my old blog posts, I laugh, I get lumps in my throat--I see the changes and paradigm shifts that have occurred within my own life—the ways I used to think, the ways I currently think. It’s fun to go back and witness all of this just by going back and revisiting my own words and ideas from the past. I desperately need to get into the blogging habit again; with my precious children and so many wonderful memories to be made, I need to do something—other than taking photos—to remember this ever so special time. (It also is a great way for me to keep recipes that I don’t want to lose!) This blog is mainly for me, but if anyone wants to check it out and if my little mundane life can be an encouragement for someone or offer them new recipes, then read on! …..and I don’t scrapbook, by the way. I wish I had that patience, but I am way too disorganized and distractable to undertake such a huge project! Thankfully, in this wonderful, modern, era, there is blogging for those of us who aren’t the scrapbooking type. …Well, here it goes—again. ….a renewed ‘commitment’ to blogging!