For many years, I wished to hibernate through Christmas. The holidays really bring out the heartache and loss. But as my kids get older, they get soo excited about Christmas traditions, my house is filled with joy and peace.
We don't get invited to Christmas parties, we don't do Christmas pageants or school plays. Therefore, we have lots of time for fun memory making moments. together. at home. The first years with my kids, I focused on making memories and keeping Christmas low key. That has really paid off and each year we add new fun activities.
Due to allergies we can not have a real tree. This was a hard tradition to give up. Plus I was having a hard time shelling out the money for a nice fake tree. But God totally blessed us!! We found a tree on an online yardsale. Brand new, BEAUTIFUL, prelit, 6.5 ft tree for $20!! Yes, TWENTY DOLLARS!! I am still in awe of this miracle. I had not planned to buy big tree this year and certain children of mine reacted very negatively to my decision. But when this very amazing deal came up, I decided to overlook their attitude and buy the tree. It took me a little while to have a good attitude about the whole situation. But now I am so thankful I purchased it!
We had planned to do Jesse Tree but with getting the large tree and my printer not working to print out the ornaments I decided to skip that.
We are doing Focus on the Family's Advent instead. I bought the advent candles and we are reading the scriptures listed on the website. This is turning into a really neat experience. Plus we listened to Tony Evans for church this morning. Good, Good message! Can I just say, my children are loving all this?!?
We do some of the secular things like listening to Christmas music 24/7 for weeks before Christmas on the local Christmas station. They love the little Christmas medleys.
We are also doing a gift exchange this year. We had originally planned a weekend getaway/family vacation instead of gifts. But honestly with all the health challenges we have I was afraid we would end up ruining Christmas so I decided to do gifts. Every other year I bought one big gift for all the kids. One year it was a pregnant mini horse, one year a trampoline, one year a ping pong table, one year a huge lego set, and I was just out of options this year. So we decided to change things up. I had the kids do a secret santa exchange. They each get to make a list, then we exchange names and each kid buys their sibling a gift. We did all our shopping online and with some careful bargain shopping and lots of prayer I have found some INCREDIBLY unbelievable deals. So we had the fun of looking online, dreaming and wishing together. Then individually shopping with me. Next week the packages should start arriving. So then we have package delivery and the wrapping fun! Do you think the kids will actually be able to keep it a secret until Christmas?!
We currently have the tree up and each night the kids turn off all the other lights. It feels magical. the kids are learning to knit and do needlepoint. We sit in our cozy little house, by our tree with Christmas music in the background working on our projects....
It's not all perfect but it is such a wonderful way to connect and bond as a family. In the words of Karen Purvis, I am making deposits so that withdrawals will be less painful!