Eek! Now that Thanksgiving has passed, as well as our last wedding for 2016 we are so excited to focus and be really intentional with the Christmas season!
Last year, Kerrington was smack dab in the middle of a sleep regression, and poor baby, mama, and daddy weren’t sleeping! I was a wreck as well as miserable, irritable, and just plain too exhausted to celebrate. Which looking back, I know the Lord was teaching me patience, and that His power was made perfect in my weakness. But mercy, I was weak y’all.
Thankfully, it’s a new year! A new chance to begin wonderful new traditions with Kerrington to teach her what Christmas is all about. The spirit of Christmas to me is learning how to celebrate Jesus’ birth in tangible ways that are simple enough even for a toddler.
I heard someone ask, “How can we make Jesus a bigger deal with a holiday that bears His name?” I love this question because it challenges us to seek ways to be really purposeful with the entire Season.
That being said, here’s how we are celebrating Christmas this year! I hesitate to call it a list simply because I don’t want these activities to be something we simply check off and high-five each other because we “got it all done,” but it is essentially a list of our goals for the season!
- A Night At Bethlehem– Since we are new to College Station, we’ve never been, so from what I understand it’s an interactive nativity set for all the littles to experience Bethlehem! It’s only one night, so there’s no telling how crazy it will be, but we can’t wait!
- Live Nativity at Bethel Lutheran Church– I’ve always wanted to go to a live nativity! Live animals, real people acting out the nativity scene, the works!
- Birthday Party For Jesus– Yes! We started this last year with Kerrington, and even have party supplies this year! We celebrate each other’s birthdays, so why not throw Jesus a party to celebrate Him! This year we will even have presents for Him! (Look for a blog post on this soon!)
- Act Out The Nativity with Little People Nativity Set- We found a Fisher Price Nativity set at Target several weeks ago, and jumped at getting it for Kerrington! We have already let her play with it and we chat about the different people and animals. She loves Mary (who she calls mama because I started calling her mama Mary!)
- Read various versions of the Christmas Story- From our Bibles to Kerrington’s children Bibles, we plan to read a version several times throughout the season.
- Bake a gingerbread Nativity scene- K and I have been making gingerbread houses every year since we started dating 15 years ago, and this year I found a Nativity cookie cutter set for us to make our own, and again discuss the Christmas story! Yummy!
- Bake cookies for neighbors and deliver them– Who doesn’t love a sweet surprise! I will be attempting to decorate some Christmas cookies, and we will be adding a scripture to the tags to spread the love of Christ with our neighbors. While we are baking them I will chat with Kerrington about how Jesus loves everyone, and that He wants us to love our neighbors!
- She Reads Truth Advent study as a family– Neither K nor I were raised in homes where we celebrated Advent, neither of us really knew what it was. Thankfully this year we do. Advent is translated from it’s original word that meant “coming”. It’s the anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. We are excited to dig into this study as a family that is complete with the cutest illustrated table cards for Kerrington.
- Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh gifts– We decided before Kerrington was born that she would only get 3 gifts each year. The “gold” gift will be her “big” gift, when she gets older it’ll be what she wants. The “frankincense” gift is something to help her spiritual growth, and the “myrrh” gift is something for her body like clothes, etc.
- Read “The Three Trees” on Christmas Eve– This was a book that my husband grew up reading for Christmas, so we searched for it last year. It is the sweetest book about what three different trees came to be, all serving Jesus.
- Lastly, (I think!) is Operation Christmas Child– Oh my goodness, I have such a heart for this! We have been doing shoeboxes for years through church and MOPs, but we started last year also doing a couple as a family. If you don’t know what OCC is watch THIS. I saved this one until last even though it was the first one we completed because I wanted to include a few pictures from us packing our boxes! Because the boxes travel to such remote countries all over the world it takes a while for them to get into the hands of the children who will receive them, so the boxes have to be packed and dropped off in November!
A few additional Christmas traditions and activities that we are planning are:
- Decorate the Christmas tree.
- Christmas crafts with Kerrington
- Matching Christmas pajamas and watch a movie together!
- Santa’s Wonderland.
- Sing Christmas songs with dance parties!
- Send out family Christmas newsletters
This sounds like a lot I know! But prayerfully we will not rush the Season and certainly not rush through these activities! Little by little, one activity at a time will intentionally be taught and hopefully absorbed into Kerrington’s little heart as well as ours.
I pray we never become numb or underwhelmed to the enormous gift that God gave us when He sent His Son that night in Bethlehem.
What is your favorite family tradition to celebrate?!