Preparing for Christmas

The weather has started to turn 'chilly' as Ruth would say, even though it is only August the 3rd, and the cooler mornings and evenings with the light drawing in turns my thoughts towards the coming winter and Christmas. And this year, with Ruth being old enough to start to understand, is the year to begin traditions and for us to decide how we would like to celebrate Christmas as a family unit.

I want Christmas to be, for our family, a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, to love each other and those around us, and to make it a time of haven-ness that we come to look forward to year after year.

I want to give good gifts, ones that will be appreciated and bless the receiver. I also want to be a good steward of what we have in order that we can bless others, and that includes our home and our time, as well as the material things. That means that as well as the gifts, there are also things like the food, the decorations and beginning of traditions to think about.

I want us to have family food that we have year on year, I want us to have fragrances that linger, that envelope us as we celebrate together. In short, I want to create a place that our family wants to return to every Christmas.

I want Christmas to really count, and to be enjoyed and cherished within our home. I want to be almost like an extended Sabbath where we are all blessed by God and each other. Its a big list of 'I wants' but if I start there, its a good a place as any!


Val said…
I think that holiday traditions are terribly important. It was a challenge for me to adapt to my in-laws traditions, at first, but in the last five years of marriage I think we've come to a pretty good compromise on nearly everything, which is nice. I know that I still treasure many of the things my family did when I was a child, though, and work to incorporate them into our own holidays. For example, we always have Sticky Buns - a kind of hot caramelized cinnamon roll - for breakfast on Christmas morning, even if it is at 10:30! (My in-laws celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, and we often don't get home to bed before 3 am or so!)

Christmas day is spent with my parents and cousin, and we always have the same dinner - meatballs with noodles, homemade rolls, my mom's black cherry jell-o salad, and Christmas cookies and peppermint ice cream for dessert. I like using tried and true recipes, because it means that there's no food prep stress the day of. I like my Christmases to be calm and peaceful!

I also think that the idea of an advent calendar is wonderful, both because it gives you lots of time to talk about the true meaning of Christmas, and to read all of those lovely Old Testament texts that foreshadow Christ, and because it reminds children daily that the reason for Christmas is Christ. I knew one family, when I was growing up, that had their own advent wreath that they lit for dinner every night with the kids. Though we have not done anything like this ourselves, yet, I think it is a great idea.

I also think (and I a non-parent I'm sitting here giving a parent my completely unproven and unused advice!) that it's important to teach the kids to give Christmas presents. I love, love, love picking out gifts for everyone and preparing them. It's better than the receiving! I've known some families who give gifts to their children, but never teach them that they should be giving in return, as well. What a missed opportunity!