Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christmas Bells are Ringing

The toy magazines are arriving, the stores are aglow with trees, stars, lights, and Santa's. Can it be? Is Christmas really on it's way...already. Believe it or not, right this second I myself am listening to Christmas music! Hey, I'm in the mood and I love Christmas!

I have sweet memories of Christmas time. Memories of family, feasts, church plays, playing in the snow while we search for a Christmas tree, decorating the tree of course and lights on houses and trees. My favorite thing to do was to sneak downstairs and make myself a bed under the lit tree.

I barely remember the Christmas gifts, we got plenty, but they were not the focus of Christmas in my family. So my question for you is this, in this day and age, the age of an abundance of "things," what do you do with your children to keep the focus on the true meaning of Christmas...the birth of Jesus, and the joy in giving to others?

I've made an advent calendar for this Christmas. Rather than filling underneath the tree with an abundance of gifts that we don't need but are spending money on anyway just because, well, that's what you do at Christmas, right? We thought it would be fun to, instead, celebrate throughout the month with memorable, meaningful, and of course fun and yummy times together as a family. With the focus being on giving to others, and making lasting memories... I found some great ideas from Focus on the Family, and and also from We are THAT Family. Some of the things our family is planning on doing are: (Not in this order)

  1. Each of our kids are going to give a shoebox full of gifts to a needy child of their same age in our community.

  2. Make gifts for each other

  3. Hot Chocolate with marshmallows

  4. Visit a retirement home with homemade cookies and a listening ear.

  5. Christmas caroling

  6. Go see a Christmas play(or two:)

  7. Game night

  8. Movie night

  9. Sledding

  10. Ice skating

  11. Craft night making snowflakes

  12. Walk the dogs

  13. Take pictures of each other

  14. Video interviews on what Christmas means "to me"

  15. Make gifts for teachers

  16. Make gift tags for teachers gifts

  17. Make cookies for neighbors

  18. Sleep under the tree

  19. Read a special Christmas book together

  20. Set up the Christmas tree

  21. Go shopping for each other

  22. Bike ride

  23. Drive around to gaze at Christmas lights

  24. Make birthday cards for Jesus

  25. Merry Christmas!

I also have scriptures that we will be reading every night together. I can't wait! It will be so much fun. One of our traditions is getting an ornament for the kids each year, something that represents something that they love, or their personality. Like my Meme collects acorns, so this year I already found her ornament, an acorn:) Too cute!

Do you have any traditions? How are you going to celebrate the Christmas season this year?


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