What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas perhaps means a little bit more! – Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
In an effort to keep the consumerism at bay and harness the few years we have with our young children during the holidays, I have made it a point to create Christmas traditions that turn into memories for all.
Picking the Tree
Living in the hills of Tennessee, we have had the privilege of visiting a Christmas tree farm each year. As tradition dictates, each year a different child chooses the fir that becomes part of the family. The drive out is filled with Christmas music and storytelling. Arriving at the farm, the whole lot of us trek down row after row to find that one special conifer.
In our home, decorating day means we put away the school books, light cinnamon candles, and put on a pot of hot water for cocoa. Turning on the record player – yes, the old turn style record player with a bit of Nat King Cole – we rearrange the furniture, set the tree, and begin to decorate.
With each decoration, we play a memory game of “Where did this ornament come from?” and the story behind it. With Christmas in the air, we sip hot cocoa and begin to make our once a year Christmas cookies, followed by one of our favorite chili dinners.
During such a busy season, a bit of one-on-one time with mom is often hard to come by. In an effort to keep the productivity up while building special moments, each child spends time with mom wrapping their sibling gifts. The fun is talking through keeping the secret and the many giggles that follow for days.
Thinking of Others
With so much attention focused on our family and kids, it’s necessary to incorporate some good old fashioned neighborly kindness. Each year, we spend a day or two in the kitchen whipping up Christmas hard candy, cookies, fudge, and homemade hot drink mixes. We then create tins and baskets for our friends and neighbors, and the kids design hand-written cards.
With thick coats and woven mittens, the adorableness of little kids delivering the goodies has made life long impressions.
Before the kids pull the stockings down or dive into the gifts, we begin each Christmas morning with the Story of Redemption. Creating an atmosphere of coziness, I turn on the fireplace, play soft Christmas music, and have a fresh danish prepared for snacking with hot cider and coffee. As we slowly awaken, we begin with hugs and cuddles, then bring out our Bibles.
Reading the nativity story is the best memory to make on Christmas Day.