Saturday, December 01, 2007

Celebrating Christmas at Our House

=
I am a tradition buff. As a child I loved certain family traditions. They were so meaningful and important to me. In my child's mind these things we did together defined how I remembered our family. Studies show that children learn from repetition. That's why traditions are so important to me. I believe our children will remember the things we do over and over again together. I hope that those things are meaningful and fun.


Every year I share our special Christmas traditions with you guys. I actually write them out cause I am such a goober that I will forget to do them. :0) I love getting wonderful new ideas. So I hope you will share one of YOUR favorite Christmas traditions with me in the comments section. One huge thing we do now is celebrating advent. We do not celebrate them as holy days as some people do. However, we think advent is a beautiful tradition and a wonderful way to keep the holiday season focused on the right things. It is very important to us that our children never believe that Christmas is all about getting presents.

=
=
So this is a fun way to daily bring the focus back to Jesus birthday. What we do is read the advent passage each night and then read a fun Christmas story. Look at the website I found this year. VERY COOL! It takes you through advent day by day. Wooohooo! That makes it UBER EASY! Check it out

=
This year advent starts tomorrow. Why not try it this year with your family? Even if you don't get it done every night I think you and y0ur kids will remember it as a special family time for years to come. Or maybe try adding one or two fun traditions. Steal mine! I don't mind. I've stolen all of mine from my family and friends! :0)


Christmas Traditions

The Weekend After Thanksgiving

Decorate the house with fun Christmas decorations

Pick out a Christmas tree


String popcorn and cranberries for the tree

Make homemade decorations for the tree





The Month Of December
Each night write something that you are thankful for on a piece of paper every night during advent time and put it in your Christmas stocking. Everyone reads them on Christmas Eve (from Amy)


Spend some time doing a special service for Christmas- food bank, adopt a family for Christmas, or other opportunity- when kids are old enough let them help to decide what the family service project should be

Have a baking day for friends and neighbors- spend a family day making lots of yummy goodies for those in your everyday life while you play lots of great Christmas music!!!


Follow an advent calendar- let kids take turns removing an object each night before bed (maybe make your own calendar)

Make a gingerbread house
-
Visit Santa
-
The Week before Christmas
-
Watch a Christmas movie each night while working on homemade gifts for family and friends- each family member gets to choose a couple of the movies
-
Drive around and look at great Christmas lights
-
Christmas Eve
--
Kids receive Christmas pajamas and a special Christmas story with a letter from us written about that year
-
Make Jesus birthday cards to put on top of the mantle
-
Make a special plate of treats for Santa
=
Make magic reindeer food - Quaker oats, sprinkles, and other fun stuff. (thanks Henry’s for letting us steal this one ) Sprinkle reindeer food on sidewalk
=
The Night Before Christmas and a children’s version of the Christmas story
-
Go to a Christmas Eve service to sing songs together

Christmas Day
-=
Open presents
-
Make Happy Birthday pancakes for Jesus Birthday in fun Christmas shapes
-
Cook everyone's favorite traditional holiday foods
-
New Year’s Eve
=
Start a family journal. Each year each family member will write the best things that happened, the worst things that happened and the things they have learned. Parents can write for children too young to write on their own.
-
Here is some info on advent...
Celebrate Advent!by Letitia Suk
--
Three weeks and two days before Christmas and the heated discussion among my four children is not about which video games they want for Christmas but who's turn it is to light the candle at family Advent. It's the first week of Advent season, the observance of the four weeks preceding Christmas, a tradition started in the Middle Ages. My kids want to make sure they each have a part in the celebration.
-
Advent Readings
-
The length of the Advent season depends on which day of the week Christmas falls on. This schedule includes all possible 28 days of Advent. For shorter seasons adjust this schedule by doubling up on some readings or eliminating the final two readings, which record events after Christ's birth.
-
First Week Sun.
Is. 40:1-5Mon. Is. 52:7-10Tue. Is. 40:9-11Wed. Gen. 3:8-15Thu. Gen. 15:1-6Fri. Deut. 18:15-19Sat. Ps. 89:1-4
-
Second Week Sun.
Is. 11:1-10Mon. Zech. 6:12-13Tue. Mic. 5:2-4Wed. Mal. 3:1-6Thu. John 1:1-8 Fri. John 1:9-18Sat. Mark 1:1-3
-
Third Week Sun.
Luke 1:5-13Mon. Luke 1:14-17Tue. Luke 1:18-25Wed. Luke 1:39-45Thu. Luke 1:46-56Fri. Luke 1:57-66Sat. Luke 1:67-80
-
Fourth Week
Sun. Is. 7:10-14Mon. Luke 1:26-35Tue. Is. 9:2-7Wed. Mt. 1:18-25Thu. Luke 2:1-20Fri. Mt. 2:1-2Sat. Luke 2:21-35
-
More than any other activity, Advent can restore Jesus to the center of the Christmas celebration, because on each Advent day the birth of Jesus is read, sung and talked about. The whole family can participate and find the observance meaningful. The props are simple and inexpensive. The memories and training will last a lifetime. Although the common tenets of observing Advent are shared by many churches, each family can add its own flavor. Following is a basic primer on how to start celebrating Advent this year.
-
When: Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, Dec. 3 this year. Because Christmas falls on different days each year, Advent can last 22 to 28 days.
-
Prepare your family: Let your family or household know that this year you are going to start a new tradition to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Whenever you can with children, refer to Christmas as Jesus' birthday. Decide which time of the day will work best for your Advent time.
-
What you need: • An Advent wreath, which can be purchased at most Christian bookstores, or made of fire-safe materials or a log with holes for candles. Perhaps it could be a family event to choose or make the Advent wreath. • Four candles, three purple and one rose, and an additional white candle for Christmas Eve. A box of four Advent candles can be purchased at many card stores or Christian bookstores. • A Bible for readings and, for younger children, a selection of children's Christmas stories that focus on the birth of Jesus. • Advent readings.
-
Optional items: • An Advent calendar, available where cards are sold, with 24 windows to open each day in December or a paper chain of 24 red and green links to mark the number of days until Jesus' birthday. Christmas carol books.
-
Beginning the celebration: On the first day begin with either a prayer or a Christmas carol. Light the first purple candle, known as the prophecy candle. The liturgical color purple is a sign of penance and longing as we wait for the birth of Jesus. With the lighting, talk about Jesus being the light of the world. Read the Advent Scripture of the day. Conclude by singing or praying. Have one child blow out the candle.
-
Light the same candle each day of the first week. Follow with the reading, Christmas carols or other meaningful activities. On the second Sunday light two purple candles, both of which are re-lit each night. The second candle is known as the Bethlehem candle.
-
The third week light the two purple candles and then a rose candle, or shepherd candle. Rose is a sign of joy and hope that He is coming.
-
Light the last candle, known as the angel candle, on the fourth Sunday. All four candles are lit each night that week to symbolize the growing brightness of Jesus' coming.
-
Advent activities for Christmas Eve: Conclude the Advent season by lighting all four candles and placing an additional white candle in the center in its own holder.....As you prepare to open gifts explain how we give gifts as a reminder of how much God gave us in Jesus.
-
Long after the new toys are banished to the back of the closet and the decorations stored away for another year, the memories of the four weeks of Advent will remain. Don't be surprised if it turns out to be your favorite tradition!
-
Hope these Christmas traditions bring your family as much joy as they do ours. Hugs to you. Angel

5 comments:

Whitney said...

Our kids get one gift from us (the family bombards them with gifts), but we spread out stocking surprises over the month. The kids like getting up and checking their stocking a time or two a week. More fun than that, they get into giving sweet homemade notes or other paper gifts and getting to be the one surprising the rest of the family.

Reba said...

We wrap up 25 Christmas books each year for each child. That year, that means 75, next year it will be 100! Then every night before bed, the kids open up one to read. It is a favorite family tradition, though the wrapping isn't the most fun. :) The books are a mixture of Christian/Jesus and just secular Christmas books. We have a lot of family traditions too...I am a BIG believer in the security and joy traditions bring...

Ryan and Heather said...

Thanks for posting this. I've been thinking of ways we can celebrate Christmas without all of it's focus being on presents. We won't have our baby home by Christmas this year but next year she'll be almost two years old so it will be so amazing to watch her joy and wonder during the holiday season :)
Heather
tovietnam.blogspot.com

Amy said...

We have a couple of fun traditions that we do each year. The day we decorate the tree we order pizza and when we are all done we put a tablecloth on the floor and eat with only the Christmas tree lights on and give each child a new ornament which (hopefully) signifies something from there past year. (When we were engaged we decorated a Christmas tree and ate pizza out of necessity-no other furniture in the room :).

On Christmas Eve we go to church and then have a close family over for soup/bread and a birthday party for Jesus. The kids than put on an impromptu version of the Christmas story- it is different every year!

Thank you for sharing.

Kathy said...

Beautiful girls.