So, we, I'm sure along with many families with little people sturggle with Christmas season and often ask ourselves...how do we keep the main thing, the main thing this year? Christmas is definitely one of my most favorite holidays and I have so many awesome memories from my childhood. Now that we are building traditions of our own, I want my kiddos to have wonderful memories as well. I want them to have fun, I want them to enjoy Santa and presents and making a snack for Santa and his reindeer. I want them to be excited about family traditions and all the hustle and bustle of the season. BUT, more than that, I want them to understand the deep deep meaning behind Christmas day. That God loved us so much that He sent a Savior to be born - who would live a perfect life and then die for me and you. A Savior that gives us hope for tomorrow and a purpose for living - to share the good news with others. So, how do we teach our little 4 and 2 year olds these truths? What about you??? Any ideas? Here's a few traditions we are trying to set...
1. We make cupcakes for Jesus's birthday on Christmas Eve. That's what we leave for Santa and his elves
2. We read the Christmas story from Luke 2 before the day gets started - before we even walk downstairs and see the stockings and presents under the tree
3. We decorate like crazy - our house is beautiful and I tell the boys that this is the biggest birthday party ever, so our house should look beautiful for the King!
4. This year, we are trying this one... since Jesus received three presents from the Wise men, we are giving our children 3 presents each. (I'm not sure how this will play out with "santa" presents just yet...)
5. We have mangers/nativity sets all around our house -- see???
This one is our new additon this year and I.love.it! My dad made the manger and the star and some friends of my parents made the figures. The boys got to go with me to find a baby Jesus and took great care in putting him in the manger. I really love this!!!
This one is very special to me. I got this unique hand-carved nativity set when I went on a mission trip to Zimbawe, Africa. The details on this set are exquisite! You may notice that Baby Jesus is missing... each year, I save him and bring him out on Christmas morning and make a really big deal about putting him in his special spot. This year, I'm thinking of wrapping him up and putting him under the tree and making him the last present that's opened.
This one is in the boys' room. It's the Little People nativity set. SO cute and so perfect for little hands!
I quadruple heart this one. It's hard to see because of my weird camera angle, but this one is so sweet. The little figures are cloth and can fit right into the little barn and it velcros up nice and neat. My friend Whitney got this for Jacob when he was born and I love it so much. The boys have both carried this little set around, chewed on pieces and kissed baby Jesus with slobbery kisses and sticky lips. For some reason, this one is the easiest for me to tell the story. And I have probably told them the story about 20 times already this season.
And finally, this one reminds me of my childhood. This nativity set always had a special place in my living room growing up. I love it's rustic look. When I got my first place on my own (and was totally broke by the way) my mom let me pick some of my favorite Christmas decorations to take with me to start my collection. How cool is that?
I know that despite my attempts, Jacob and Jonathan will super excited about the presents and may say "what's my next present?" a few times that day, but I sure hope at least part of the day is totally 100% focused on Jesus, our Lord.
What about you guys? Any ideas?