Friday, December 10, 2010

The Christmas Season

The last several months I've spent a lot of time thinking how we can make Christmas special.  We've talked and talked and talked about it.  We've discussed it with our children at length also.  I won't share everything we are doing for the sake of surprise.  Liberty will probably find a way to get on the Internet once she knows I've posted so I don't want to spoil anything for her.  Here are some things we've decided to do:

  1. We are only getting one present this year.  (That's from our immediate family).
  2. We've spent a lot more time signing the Christmas hymns than ever before.
  3. We are putting up a tree (we haven't yet), but the kids only want white lights and a popcorn strand on it.
  4. They don't want to hang up their old Santa socks, they want to hang up some wool socks on Christmas Eve.  Leader (8) said, "Don't give us any candy in it either mom."
  5. We are spending Christmas afternoon in a Convalescent Center passing out gifts and singing.
  6. We actually put up lights on the outside of the house and fence.  So fun.  We've never had lights up before.  (It's easier to put them up when the house is so small, it doesn't take very long at all!)
Like I mentioned we are doing some other things, but I'm not going to share them yet.

We also started the Christmas Season off with another (30th) viewing of Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration right before the lights came on at Temple Square on the 26th of November.  What a wonderful way to remind us of how to live our life and truly honor Christ.  Christ wants as a gift a "broken heart and a contrite spirit."  That's what Joseph gave Him, we must learn from Joseph.

Our family has never "practiced" Santa Claus and so he is not missed.  A long time ago I had an impression that I shouldn't lie to Liberty (12) about Santa Claus.  So they've never believed in Easter bunnies, tooth fairies or Santa and his reindeer.  Despite what others may think they don't seem emotionally disturbed having missed out on Santa.  In the past though we have had some tree ornaments, stockings, watched the silly old cartoon holiday movies and sang the silly Santa songs.  This year we've just sort of skipped those things all together. 

For their one present they are getting something they want as opposed to something they need.  However it is something that fits in our very strict "whole recreational activity" department.  No Wii games, no MP3 players, no whatever gadgets are out there.

Our Christmas season as truly been a season of joy so far.  We have done a tremendous amount of service, which I will talk about in another post.  There has been no rushing to the store to beat the crowds or catch a sale.  It's been peaceful, it's been holy.

Side note:  We have also changed our birthday's around also.  The children get one gift and then we go to a family activity and eat dinner out wherever they want.  Determination celebrated his 11th birthday in this manner a couple of weeks ago and it was "his best birthday ever" and he was crying at the end of the day with happiness.  Their presents will be something practical yet something they want.  For example, Determination received a Leatherman.  We live in a situation where he uses it regularly, so this might not be ideal for some families living in suburbia.


Chocolate on my Cranium said...

One of these years we have got to meet in real life! My children have decorated our tree with dried orange slices, cinnamon stick bundles, and white lights. We do three gifts (a tradition from my Spanish side in honor of the Los Reyes or the Three Kings) but they are all handmade.

Oh, 9 is the magical age for getting their own pocketknife here. :D Several weeks ago at a youth activity someone needed scissors so they asked the W girls if they had their pocketknives handy - which they did of course. Farm girls have to be ready for anything!

rneweyfamily said...

This year, Taylor has asked for a hammer and nails, and I think she will get it, maybe. If not for Christmas maybe her birthday.

buzy bee said...

We did away with birthday's this past year. We quit cold turkey and although it is still a special day where we love the child and talk about the blessing they are to have in our family we have left off the gifts and gone out to their favorite restaurant. It has been a great blessing for me as the mother to enjoy my children and for the children because it's no about how much they get, it's about how much we love them

Ranee said...

We have had a plan to go to a museum or do some other favorite activity as a family, on birthdays. Our daughter recently turned 6 and we were able to go to a live nativity production in the baseball field behind our Stake center. There were real animals and the stars overhead and it was a beautiful and magical memory for us! For Christmas, we have bought from Thrift Stores or re-gifted items that we have been given and never used, this year. We skipped the "Black Friday" sales and have stayed away from the stores as much as possible and the stress level in our lives has greatly decreased. Our goal this coming year, is to designate each month to family members or close friends and spend time making homemade gifts throughout the year, so Christmas will be even less stressful and more about Christ next year! :)

Kendra said...

I think your Christmas sounds very peaceful! Although We do think it is fun to have Santa and Stockings, I think you can balance it out, by not having that be the focus. Daily I am talking, reading and focusing our days on what Christmas is really about! We do three gifts. One from Mom, Dad, and a small one from Santa. I like the homemade idea the Chocolate on my Cranium said!
Thanks for the post!
I really like your birthday idea!