Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Crazies

It's an interesting time of year, the end of December.

Every year, especially now that I'm a parent, I set some grand expectations on the warm fuzzies that should come my way amid the hot cocoa, Christmas carols, and beautifully wrapped presents. And every year, I end up in an over-committed, gift-wrapping, cookie-making, running-late-for-everything frenzy. This year may have topped the crazy scales, as we dashed from one family gathering to another, trying to manage toddler sleep schedules and mommy's stomache flu all at the same time. Whew! I'm glad it's almost over!!!

I now have twelve months to figure out a strategy for making next Christmas more of what it should be: quiet, reflective, Christ-centered... We may have to skip a few parties. For sure, I won't decide to make all my gifts (or maybe I just need to start about mid-July). The wonderful truth is that Mike and I get to create reality for our own family, and I'm thankful that we're learning some of these lessons early, before Aaron is really too aware of what's going on. By next year, he'll really understand what Christmas is, and I don't want to hand him the idea that it's all about stuffing yourself silly on Christmas cookies and making wish lists from the local toy store. I think I'm going to make creating a calmer Christmas my official goal for 2009.

What are some of the traditions or rituals that your family uses to make Christmas meaningful? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Here are a few pics of our Christmas day. As I uploaded them, I noticed how they're all taken while opening gifts. This is a sure sign that things are out of balance in our Christmas celebration. I'm looking forward to rethinking things for next year.


Rebecca said...

When I was a kid, our parents always read a Bible story, and later a scripture passage daily after dinner. During advent, my mom had her own advent wreath and we would do devotions about the Christmas story and light the candles.

Also, a comment on the proportion of photos showing gift-opening. I'm glad that you have taken that as a catalyst to think more intentionally about next year, but I'm not so sure it's a cause for great worry. I think most of my childhood Christmas photos are similar. However, without photographic proof to prompt me, I also remember the advent candles, church services, readings of the Christmas story, and being taught that we give gifts on Christmas because it is reflective of Christ, the great gift we are blessed to receive.

Creating Christmas and other family traditions for your family is a great idea. I'm sure that, as with most things, you will put a lot of careful thought into it and the result will be that you all remember your family traditions with joy in years to come!

maryrudolph said...

Every year as I grew up my mom would give me a piece to add to my nativity set. I got a piece every year, for as long as I can remember, and it was labeled from my dad (who passed away when I was 6). I still get a piece every year. I started doing this for my kids. Their first Christmas I buy them the stable (at an after Christmas sale since they don't know!). And then I buy a new piece every year. Until this year I thought they would just sit in boxes until they moved out. But this year I let Matthew play with the pieces to my set. We occasionaly acted out the Christmas story with the pieces as if they were little action figures. It helped him to figure out who was who in the story and what happened. So next year I think I might set up his set in his room and let him play with it.

I also buy everyone in our family (David included) an ornament to represent something that happened in our family that year. I tried to find Matthew a toilet since he was potty trained this year, but didn't have much luck ;) I got him a Cars one instead! I label them with their name and year so the kids can take those with them too when they move out.