Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love the music, the focus on Christ, and the magic you can see in children’s eyes (especially my own). I just love this time of the year! When Preston and I got married it was hard to decide what family activities we would do with his family and which ones we would do with mine. It was always stressful for me because I worried about offending both sides. It took a lot of compromise and Preston and I didn’t have a chance to create our own traditions. Since we have moved out of state from both our families, we usually stay at my in-laws house during the holidays which makes it even harder to set our own family traditions.
One way I try to offset this is by having traditions that lead up to Christmas day. One thing we do is set the tree up early. Some people think this is skipping over Thanksgiving, but here is what I think, I am grateful for Christmas. It is the holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas are part of that season. And, last but not least, my birthday is November 21. I usually get an addition to my nativity for my birthday and set up my Christmas tree.
Another tradition I keep for my family is our advent. I wrap 24 Christmas stories and every day at bedtime we open one to read together. I love this tradition because it reminds me of when I was growing up, my mom read us a story a day until Christmas. The other benefit of this tradition is my boys are extra cooperative while we are getting ready for bed because they know as soon as they are ready, they get to open a present. This year I stayed up until about 1am December 1st finishing wrapping the presents but it was totally worth it because the next day my 3 year old said “Mom! An elf came in the middle of the night and left us presents under the tree!”
The last big tradition my little family does is our birthday party for Jesus. We bake a cake, sing happy birthday, and give Christ a gift for the year. These gifts can be anything you plan to do better. Examples are read scriptures every day, say prayers morning and night, give forgiveness, ect. Last year my oldest said “Be nice to my brother.” I think this tradition has helped me teach my young boys what the true meaning of Christmas is, in a way that they could understand.
This year I want to set better boundaries so that we can have our own slow Christmas morning with the kids. I want to do a fun Christmas breakfast with just our small family. Then I want to spend time with all of our extended family. Setting these boundaries will help my family develop our marital and family identity.