This little gal makes life Merry!
And this one makes our lives bright!
We are so blessed as a family. Our Christmas was SO merry and bright!
The fun thing about Keshlyn's age (2 1/2) is that we got to really talk to her about Christmas this year and she was able to understand a little bit and get excited. We don't really talk about Santa or do that whole world tradition. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this time of year and want my children to know why: because I'm grateful for the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Teaching in Primary at Church, I would ask during this season, “Can you tell me about Christmas” or “What is Christmas about?” The first things those children think of are presents under the tree and Santa. Now, if I ask them who was born on Christmas Day (even though he really wasn’t), they’ll answer, “Jesus.” But, he’s NOT the first thing they think of when talking about Christmas. I don't like the idea of asking my children to make a list of what they want or hope to receive for Christmas. I don't want to have them focus on themselves and make materialistic demands. Shannon and I want our children and family to look outward during the Christmas holiday. I want to form traditions that revolve around the birth of Christ like going to live nativities or reading the account of his birth in Luke. I've also never liked it when I hear adults ask different children “What did you get for Christmas.” Is it a competition? What if a child’s parents couldn’t really afford what that child asked Santa for? Should parents feel the pressure to fulfill a child's list of toys and spend beyond their means Or should our children be brought up focusing solely on becoming more like Christ and honoring His birth through service and giving? I just find it a little funny that here we have this holiday, CHRISTmas and somewhere along the line, the world threw in Santa Claus and commercialized what is supposed to be a purely religious holiday. Most people disagree with my thoughts and that's ok. I don't judge others for having a tradition rich in "Santa Claus." I'm not saying it's bad, I just feel like for my family, I want to go a different direction. The idea of Santa is good: he is very giving and loving. But, I don't need a mythical example of someone who exemplifies giving and service when I have the ultimate example that came on a Silent Night and was laid in a manger. :)
To try and accomplish the true spirit of Christmas, I started a new tradition with my family: A service Christmas advent calendar. I came up with this idea and searched the internet to see if anyone out there had done one before and of course, I found a website where I took some ideas from. I can't for the life of my find it right now to give a shout out! Grrr. Every day in December until Christmas, there are cards that have a scripture about service/Christ on one side, and then on the other side of the card is a service to do as a family. It’s a Random Act of Christmas Kindness.
We had a BLAST doing these. We did things like: Pull people’s garbage cans up to their houses on garbage day, tape money to vending machines and redbox movie machines, drop off anonymous treats, gifts, and money to families in need; hide money in the toy aisle for those buying gifts, buy the cold Salvation Army ringer a hot cocoa in Kentucky, randomly "kidnap" a family’s kids to babysit so parents could have a free day (etc...) It’s an incredible feeling to get an inkling of how Christ lived his WHOLE life: in complete service. As our family read the scripture each night and had a discussion about how our service is a gift to Christ, our home and hearts were filled with love. I’ve grown from this experience! We hung each tag/card on the tree after each one was completed. I hope that our family will do this for years and years to come and it will be what my children think of when Christmas comes to mind: serving and giving to others in honor of Christ’s birth.
I wanted to make this before Christmas and with going to Kentucky and such, I just didn't have time. But, I saw a picture in a magazine with allof these beautiful ribbons flowing down the tree. I fell in love...but not enough to pay the $79 they were asking for the piece. As I looked at it, I knew it would be SO CHEAP and simple to make so I did today for next year!
The lighting was bad, and my tree is beyond dead so the limbs are sagging and the ornaments have fallen, so the tree looks terrible. My ribbon looks cute though! :) It's way cuter in person. Next year I'll probably add more ribbon. All you do is take a wire or elastic and make it into a circle. Then you measure out different ribbons and tie it around the ring to place at the very top of the tree. The ribbon flows down the tree and you can tuck it in branches along the way if you'd like. I love it. You can't see all of my little ribbons in this picture. Rats. Oh well. Better picture next year! haha
Hope you had a Merry Christmas!