- We are only getting one present this year. (That's from our immediate family).
- We've spent a lot more time signing the Christmas hymns than ever before.
- We are putting up a tree (we haven't yet), but the kids only want white lights and a popcorn strand on it.
- 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."
- We are spending Christmas afternoon in a Convalescent Center passing out gifts and singing.
- 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!)
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.