The holidays are the most special time of the year for my family. So much so, that I begin planning for it the summer before the holiday. One thing I begin thinking about is advent calendars. Each of our two married children and our seven grandchildren have large cloth advent calendars with little pockets for each day of the month, and throughout the fall, I look for special items to put in each pocket. I deliver the calendars to each of the families at Thanksgiving.
For us, the Christmas Eve church service signifies the beginning our family Christmas celebration. I enjoy being with family and friends and singing Christmas carols. And then I can’t wait until Christmas morning when my grandkids finally get to tear open the gifts under the tree that have been taunting them all month. This year my son is preparing Christmas dinner (with a little help from me), and our family will spend the entire day together.
I treasure Christmas with my husband, children and grandchildren because when I was growing up, Christmas was a sad time for me. There was a lot of dysfunction in my family and the holidays seemed to make it more difficult. I’m so thankful that Christmas is now a joy.
To share that joy, each year our family looks for ways to help people less fortunate than us. This year we are traveling to Tijuana, Mexico to bring gifts and encouragement to children in an orphanage there. With all passports safely tucked away, this is a trip everyone is looking forward to this season.
Recently I came across another special tradition I’d like to share. This mom shares the giving concept of Christmas with her children by creating a “Jar of Christmas Magic” with which she encourages her kids’ acts of kindness such as being helpful around the house, holding the door for someone and donating toys and other items to those in need. For every “good deed,” a Christmas “sleigh bell” is put in the jar and if the jar is full by Christmas Eve, her kids get to open a special “Christmas Eve” box full of goodies like pajamas, hot chocolate and a holiday movie. Beautiful, right? Read more about it here.
Meanwhile, I hope this holiday time is filled with family, friends and relaxation for all of you. 2014 is going to be a great year!
What are your special Christmas traditions?