Christmas is my all-time favorite season - not winter - CHRISTMAS. That's been true ever since I was a little girl and a certain special Aunt gave my sister and me the biggest, most wonderful surprise imaginable. She gave us Christmas.
You see, my parents were in the ministry - starting a Teen Challenge program (Christian rehab) for adolescent boys at that time. Money was extra tight that year (it was always tight - but that year it was extra so). Our parents had prepared us for a "simple Christmas" celebrating the real reason for Christmas. To young children that equates to few or no presents. Christmas morning finally came, and with it came a surprise from my Aunt. She came with a car bursting with the most wonderful toys any little girl could imagine! I remember standing (or I guess I was jumping up and down giggling and screaming in delight), watching her bring in load after load of beautifully wrapped presents from her car. She had such a generous spirit! To this day I cry every time I remember that morning. Of course Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ, but part of it's about the childhood wonder of surprises too.
I want our family's Christmases to be about tradition, about celebrating what Christ did for us, and about creating fabulous memories. Each year I evaluate our previous Christmas and decide what else I want incorporated in our month-long celebration. Maybe I'll eventually show you glimpses into our traditions. But today I want to share with you a new one.
There are so many magical Christmas stories - The Night Before Christmas ... The Grinch ... The Nutcracker .... When I did my last evaluation, I thought about how to incorporate those stories in a meaningful way. At bedtime we always try to let the kids pick a book or two to read. Well, I put 2 and 2 together and came up with 14. (That's how many Christmas books we currently own.) Each night leading up to Christmas (starting this year on Dec. 9th), the boys will open a present. Inside will be that night's bedtime story. Christmas Eve they'll unwrap the Bible, and we'll read the most important Christmas story - the one out of Luke.
Each night will be a surprise.
Each night will be a present.
Each night will be a Christmas memory.
So, last night after the "children were nestled all snug in their beds," I got out the wrapping paper and got to work. I can hear my friend Beth saying right now, "Julia, that basket desperately needs a little ribbon. All it takes is just a little - look through your stash. You've got to have some somewhere. That way you can dress it up without it costing you anything." I'll get to that. (See - I do learn!) I made a mistake. I wrapped the books while watching a Christmas movie last night. No, that wasn't the mistake. The mistake was that it wasn't a movie I could quote by heart. So, it ended up taking the entire two-hour movie to wrap fourteen books. By the time they were wrapped I was tired and headed to bed. I'll "bling" it out tonight after the boys go to bed. I didn't want to wait to blog this new Christmas tradition until I had "pretty-ified" the basket. (By the way - the basket was part of a going away basket presented to me from the ladies at MOMents. So, thank you, ladies! I've found a special use for the basket!)
It doesn't matter so much WHAT your Christmas traditions are. What matters is that you have some. What's your favorite??? I'm always looking for new ideas!