For WFMW, I decided to pull out the mistletoe and nativity scene and start thinking about the holiday traditions we'll create in our home over the years. I'd love to hear about any of your special traditions as well - so leave a comment if you please!
I am starting to feel the Christmas Spirit wafting in and out of my heart. My days are starting to be spent thinking up traditions and plans for my family, and doing a bit of online gift shopping.
Traditions are an important part of the holiday season to me, as I remember having a number of them during my own childhood. We had many common traditions that many families follow, but we also had a few that became our own over the years (it will never be Christmas without Elvis and the Chipmunks). I find traditions a fun way to help remember such a special time of year and make them even more special to a family.
For my growing family I have plans in my head for MANY, MANY traditions. They range from quite small in nature, to bigger and more important ones that I hope my children will pass on to their own. Most importantly I want our traditions to include the different facets of Christmastime: Jesus, Family, and Santa (in that particular order of importance).
In today's culture it is so difficult to notice the role Christianity has to Christmas. With all of the media advertisements, emphasis on gift giving and receiving, Christmas decor, and of course Old St. Nick, it's an easy part to overlook. However, I hope to make that the central part of the Christmas holiday for my family.
So, how do I plan to accomplish such a task?
Really, it will be simple enough with a bit of work on my part, and some creativity. Primarily, many secular traditions have a Christian story that fit them and I plan to showcase those and their importance. Santa Claus, in all of his splendor, will be God's helper - they'll talk, discuss which children have been good or bad, etc. I have no intention to dismiss Santa Claus in any nature as he is such a visible aspect of the season. Christmas gifts will remain few in number in my house, though this is a much more difficult task I am learning each year. My original intention was that each child would receive three gifts from Santa Claus, just as Jesus received three gifts from the wise men. I still plan to follow through with this tradition, but I have, for Christmas #2, decided to include three additional gifts from Momma and Daddy instead of only one more. That will be our limit. Especially considering the many gifts they are bound to receive from family and loved ones. And our goal will be to teach giving, not receiving.
Another tradition I plan to implement into our home is to decorate a Jesus Tree (aka Jesse Tree) each year. This is an advent tree in which you place one ornament each day until Christmas Day, each symbolizing a story from the beginning of the Bible through the birth of Jesus. Our tradition will be to place the ornament on each night at bedtime and we'll discuss that story and say our prayers. This is a tradition that I am most excited about and plan to make my own ornaments for. Thankfully Little Miss is still young enough that this doesn't have to be just perfect yet this year.
Family, being the second most important part of the season, will be emphasized by time spent together. Everything from a special day putting up the Christmas tree with a traditional meal each year, Christmas music, and hot chocolate - to driving around looking at Christmas lights while singing Christmas Carols, to family movie nights watching favorite holiday movies. We'll also celebrate Christmas in our home as a family, and then with our extended families each year. I want to place emphasis on giving as well, though we will do so frugally and being good stewards of the money God has blessed us with. I want our children to be involved with gift giving throughout the season to family, friends, and those who are in need. These are just a few of the things that come to mind for family time, however I know in the scheme of things there will be many more.
And finally, the secular Santa Claus oriented aspect of Christmas will also be observed. We of course will visit Santa each year and take the traditional photo. We will leave out cookies with milk and a note the night before his arrival. And we will also have a few of Santa's elves who will live with us each December. These elves will be our guests, but will also be in our home watching the children behave and misbehave, all the while reporting back to Santa Claus himself. They will cause mischief and bring gifts, as well as, take Christmas wish lists back to Santa at the North Pole. This is a cute tradition that a friend of mine does with her own children and that I fell in love with the moment she told me about it. I've been waiting many Christmas seasons to start this tradition myself!
So as you can see, Christmas will definitely be multifaceted in our home, often many of the parts overlap in nature showcasing the importance and fun of the season all in one. Hopefully though, more than anything, my children will observe the true reason for the season shine through it all.