Thursday, December 22, 2011


Now that I am finally catching up on the blog and am up at least in the current month, I figured I'd start posting some things about Christmas. It's kinda fun to have such young kids and think about what traditions Ty and I would like to establish in our own little family. The kids have no expectations at this point, so we can pretty much center Christmas around whatever we would like. The past few years, we have decided to solely honor the birth of our Savior at this time of the year (aka: we don't celebrate Santa). We also try to instill in our kids the value of service and giving, which we have many opportunities to practice each winter.

This year we started a new tradition that I am hoping will also help us get into the better habit of reading more often. At the end of November, I wrapped 25 books in wrapping paper. Each day one of the boys would get to unwrap one book and we would read it! Each book had something to do with Jesus's birth or the winter season. It was kind of a challenge to find books that weren't all about Santa but focused on the reason for the season :)

Here's our list for this year:
I purchased the following books from Garden Ridge over the past 2 years -
Erik's Christmas Gift Exchange
Christmas Cookies - yes, we baked Gingerbread cookies out of this recipe book
The Perfect Snowflake - we made paper snowflakes
10 Minutes to Showtime - a cute book about the angels perspective of Jesus' birth
Waiting for Christmas - a book about advent- we read this on Dec. 1 and made a paper chain with 25 links to tear one off each day as we countdown to Jesus' birthday
The Stable where Jesus was Born- we went to a living nativity this night
Angela and the Baby Jesus- Angela steals baby Jesus from the nativity manger b/c she thinks he's cold
I Spy Christmas
Christmas Around the World- talks about the traditions of different countries - we had an apple snack like they do in Germany
Merry Christmas Strega Nona
Book of Christmas Carols - we were supposed to go carolling this night, but it got cancelled
Eight Wild Nights - about Haunikka
Pablo's Christmas- references Mexican traditions
Gifts at Christmas

From the library:
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
The Small One - we watched the Disney short film by the same title - a boy sells his donkey to Jospeh to carry Mary to Bethlehem
Why Christmas Trees aren't Perfect

From Scholastic Book Fair:
The Story of Jesus -blends Jesus' birth with his life

Last year, Ty's mom gave us a Jesse Tree. This year, we have continued that tradition by reading a daily Bible story relating to one of Jesus' ancestors, then hanging a corresponding handmade ornament on the tree. It's a great daily reminder for us during this season of Advent.

The last several years, I have particularly enjoyed participating in the Angel Tree at our church. We "adopt" a family and give them gifts. I enjoy getting outside of myself to think about what other people may enjoy and to know that we can bring smiles to some kid's faces and perhaps relief to a parent who was stressed out over gifts. This year, we took the kids with us to Kohls to purchase gifts. We had been talking about the kids we were buying for, Luke and Aria, for a few days prior. Before we arrived at the store, we reminded the kids that this trip was to get gifts for others, not ourselves. But, as soon as we stepped foot in the store, they were oohing and ahhing over all of the toys. We chose gifts for Luke and Aria, but had quite a few learning opportunities along the way to put back the toys the boys had also chosen for themselves. Colt ended up having a really difficult time with this and had to be carried out of the store, kicking and screaming. But, like I said, its a learning opportunity. And denying ourselves is very hard in our culture (thus the mess our economy is in), so we'll just have to keep working on this :)

This year we are hosting Christmas at our house for the first time. We are hoping to begin a new family tradition of service on the morning of Dec. 25th. Instead of waking up and focusing only on ourselves and our gifts (which will only be more and more tempting for our kids as they grow older), we will be heading downtown to serve breakfast to some of our homeless neighbors in Austin. Then we will return home to have our own breakfast and family time and celebration of God's miraculous gift in our lives.

Well, some of my other favorite traditions revolve around FOOD, but since I've been typing forever, will call it quits on this post. Maybe I'll go snack on a warm Dr. Pendergrass cupcake my sister just made :)

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