08 Dec Making Christmas Special // How We Do It
When I look back on Christmastime as a little girl, I don’t remember the exact gifts I asked for or received… I don’t remember the color of the dress that my mom picked out for me to wear… I don’t remember what we ate on Christmas Eve… I do, however, remember the traditions I looked forward to every year… opening family gifts on Christmas Eve, singing Christmas songs in the car as a family while we drove around looking at lights, eating Chili Cheese Grits on Christmas morning, having a sleepover with my sisters on Christmas Eve knowing that Santa was coming… reading the story of the 1st Christmas in the Bible by candlelight and then singing ‘Silent Night’ together… These are the things that my family did to make the season special. These are the things I remember most.
As a mom, I’ve made it my goal to make this season special with traditions that encompass the joy of the season, make our family have something special that only we do together, and keep the true reason of Christmas at the forefront. Some of our traditions include:
• Drinking hot cocoa and driving around to look at Christmas lights
• Christmas Eve dinner of tamales and tortilla soup
• Christmas Morning breakfast of chili cheese grits
• The Jesse Tree [see below]
• The Singing Advent Calendar [see below]
• The Giving Manger [see below]
• Christmas classic books, music, and movies
• Personalized Christmas decorations
• iSantaCam [see below]
Some of these require a little bit more explanation… you can read about them [and even purchase them] here:
The iSantaCam is a really fun way to personalize the Christmas and Santa experience! You plug it into the wall [or charge it], download the iSantaCam app, and get to the Christmas fun! The scrolling marquee sits beneath a plastic camera, which is CLEARLY how Santa sees who’s been naughty or nice! The app is what controls the marquee! It come with a variety of words from Santa, or you can use the app to ask Santa to say something specific! Then, watch the fun begin as your kiddos see that Santa is sending them a real-time message from the North Pole! Do you have multiple rooms? You can buy multiple cameras! They aren’t real cameras, though. They’re magic ones that only work with Santa’s magic!
To compound the fun, I took it to my classroom last year as a high school teacher in a Title One public school. Santa called kids out by name for being tardy, not being on task or for looking at someone else’s paper… He also called out by name the students who were being good. The kids [yes, I’m talking high school kids] LOVED it! I can only imagine how a kindergarten class would respond!
Musical Advent Calendar
Every day in December leading up to Christmas, we open up a corresponding door in the singing Advent calendar and pull out the little gift inside. Each door plays a sweet Christmas carol tune that we get to sing along to. We do this in conjunction with The Jesse Tree, which has become the most wonderful blessing in our household.
I love watching, reading and listening to these Christmas Classics that I used to enjoy as a little girl. In my house growing up, Burl Ives was a staple and, I’m not going to lie, I teared up a bit when I sat with my sweet boy and watched ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer’ together!
I love to incorporate our names and personalities in our Christmas decor throughout the house! Our Christmas Tree skirt has our last name on it, our stockings are labeled with our initials and there are several more things throughout the house that have B’s name on them too. I remember feeling like Santa knew me by name [and Jesus for that matter] growing up and I want B to feel the same way! Plus, it just makes the whole thing that much more magical!
Jesus is the reason for the season
One thing I want to make sure that we focus on as a family is the true reason that we celebrate Christmas. I want little B to grow up knowing exactly what Christmas is all about, and that’s celebrating the gift of grace, love, and joy that was given to us through the birth of Christ Jesus, our LORD. I want, more than anything, for B to know that because of the gift we have been given, we want to give and love as God has given to and loved us. We read books about Jesus and the first Christmas and I have several nativities set up around the house, including a plush set that B can play with. Here are two more Christmas traditions we incorporate into our home at Christmas that keep the true reason for the season at the forefront. These most-certainly help us make this season special:
The Jesse Tree
This is a special advent calendar that you begin on December 1st and continue until Christmas Day. Each day has a devotional and a symbolic ornament to place on the tree that represents the devotional of the day. What makes this unique, however, is that the devotionals follow the lineage of Christ [in Old Testament order], starting with creation, following through Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Solomon, David, Daniel, and many, many more! How incredible to make this a yearly tradition for your family! Your children learn the stories in the Bible and see how everything points to Jesus!
The Giving Manger:
This tradition is so wonderful for teaching children that the true meaning of following Jesus is to love and give to others. In order to prepare the manger for Jesus, you have to put straw in the bottom to make it comfortable for him. However, you can only place a piece of straw in the manger if you’ve done an act of kindness or service for someone else. As a family at the end of the day, you share what you did for others as you place the straw into the manger. Children learn quickly that giving IS receiving… all year long.
You can find all of these special items we use to make this season special and much more in the Christmas Must-Have’s Section of The Holiday Shop! Christmas is here, y’all!