Traditions are fun, aren't they? Back when Greg and I were first married I couldn't wait to start a few traditions of our own. Of course once the kids started coming along it was even more fun to put together these annual events. These are the times the kids will remember when they grow up. These activities are special to our family; no one else does them quite like us! But as I was sitting here thinking about our Christmas traditions, I was alarmed that only ONE points us to Jesus. He's the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place!
I could probably write a small book detailing all our Christmas traditions. If you have ever read my blog around this special day, you are familiar with some of them since I have a post about each one. :)
We have the Christmas Monkey, which is a very similar idea to the Christmas Elf on a Shelf. Another tradition is our Christmas morning pancake picnic in the living room. I also buy a new ornament for each child to put on their tree. This ornament symbolizes something that was important to them that year. For instance, last year we moved to Iowa, so each child got an ornament with the Iowa Hawkeyes or Cyclones on it.
Every Christmas Eve, we have a new game to play. Hungry Hungry Hippos is one of our favorites from several years ago. This year will probably be the new Angry Birds Knock on Wood game. One year when I am rich, I plan on buying a Wii and some games to go along with it. Unfortunately, I am not rich this year . . . :-)
And then we have our advent calendar. It's interesting to me that the one tradition we have about Jesus only takes 5 seconds to do each day (not much of a gift to Jesus, is it?). It's just a cheap one that I bought from Oriental Trading way back when. Or maybe I didn't buy it, maybe it was given to us - I don't really remember. All I know is that it's not doing too well. All the numbers were peeling off, so last year I wrote them in with puffy paint. The red felt "hangers" aren't going to be holding the calendar up much longer so I will soon need to do something about that. BUT, the rest of it is fine and it serves as a great reminder of the reason for the season.
I'm glad for our advent calendar even in it's sad condition, but as the kids are getting older, I wonder if it is enough. Am I really conveying the message to my children that there is more to Christmas than presents and fun?
And so this year I am launching a brand new tradition! To make it even more exciting I am fitting it right into our school day so I know I will have a designated time slot each day to do it. Wanna know what it is? Read on!
I collect nativity scenes. I just got them out and counted them yesterday and found that I have 20. WOW! Usually I have them all set up by now, but this year I am a little bit behind. And actually that works to my advantage because it will fit nicely into my new tradition.
Each day, starting December 1st, we will take one scene out, look at it, and set it up as we read a story about Jesus. It's one thing to know Jesus was born, it's another thing to learn WHY he was born. The kids will LOVE the fact that I am letting them hold and set up the scenes. One of my scenes is so small, the kids will have to look closely to see the tiny details. One scene is so big that we will need quite a large area to hold it! One is made out of glass, one is wood. One is a Precious Moments, and so on. But as we are looking at them each day, the kids will be listening to me read about Jesus. And that final day, Dec. 24th, we will put the last scene up and read the Christmas story. I will probably do this in the evening so Greg can be a part of it as well. And actually this year, we will be gone on the 24th, so it will have to be done a few days early. But, you get the idea.
So really my new tradition will be a daily present to Jesus. We are going to be giving him the gift of our time and attention as we put the focus of Christmas back on Him this December. Happy birthday, Jesus!
Cheri is a mom of four beautiful children and married to her sweetheart, Greg. She is a SAHM and homeschools! She blogs about her life at Mommy's Adventures.