Thursday, December 04, 2014

my Christmas goals

I love how my kids arrange the nativity sets. Everyone is crowded around the baby Jesus.

I want Christmas at our house to be about family, about giving, but mostly about Christ. That is a difficult task, I think. It feels like the world is shouting at me, telling me that I need more, that Christmas is about things, that I should be buying and stressing and hurrying about. But really, what I need is to be home. To be creating memories. To be quiet.

At the dinner table last night we talked about our expectations for this Christmas. We reminded each other of the things we have. That we have enough. And that maybe this Christmas we can try harder to give more.

But talking about it and doing it are two very different things. What do you do in your family to keep the focus on Jesus Christ and giving this season? I'd love to hear your ideas. While Mike finishes up the shopping, I am compiling a list of things we can do together to enjoy the season. Things like seeing the Christmas lights at the templemaking gingerbread men, bringing treats to our neighbors, reading the account of the birth of Christ in the New Testament, watching these fantastic Bible videos, and a new tradition for us, watching the Christmas Devotional this Sunday. I think we'll work with our kids to find some toys and clothes they can donate as well.

Christmas will be here before I know it, and I don't want to waste a minute on things that don't matter.


  1. Our family is using The 25 Days of Christ advent ornaments. I have a tiny table top tree that we add just those ornaments too. My kids love it! I love how each night we read a few verses of scripture, a clip of a coordinating LDS video, and a quote from a Prophet (plus all 25 days are already planned so less stress for me)

    1. I really enjoy your blog! It always helps me to refocus on my family and faith!

  2. I echo your thoughts and aspirations. I'm doing better with most of that except the buying too much stuff part.... with only one daughter of my own, and her birthday 2 weeks before Christmas, well - she just always receives A LOT of stuff. I keep telling myself that one of these years, I'll cut back, but somehow I never do, even though my husband encourages me to do so (his birthday is Christmas Eve which we do celebrate on that day apart from Christmas and he too gets A LOT of stuff). I can't seem to help myself, since this was the way I was brought up, but I will say that my joy of giving does go to many good causes as well, so I guess it's not all bad. ;)

  3. One thing we try to do every year is secret santa/12 days of Christmas for a family/person we know. This year money is extra tight so we just jumped in with our ward's secret santa-type anonymous giving, but we have done neighbors and family members for the past few years. It always helps to change the focus from "what am I going to get?" to "what are we going to give?" and our kids really get excited about it. You can also do secret service instead of gifts. I'm with you, though, my favorite part is just to be home and together.

  4. We do something like the 12 Days of Christmas for a family, but we call it Christmas Love. We also make goodies and deliver them to our neighbors and friends. We make cards and other homemade gifts to send to family and friends. We also have a scripture advent that we read and discuss each night and at the beginning of the month we come up with a gift we can give Christ this Christmas.

  5. This year my kids and I decided that we are each going to make a gift for everyone in the family and they will only have one store gift from Santa under the tree with a few stocking stuffers as well. Of course they will get gifts from g-ma's and g-pa's etc. but we are going to keep it low key. They have come up with such good ideas for gifts and the feeling of excitement of making somrhing for someone is filling our home. I think this is going to be the best Christmas yet. I am also hoping to put together and Christ center advent

  6. This year I am wanting to make sure I soak up each moment we have. I told myself that I will not get caught up in what does not matter, and any shopping or preparing gifts will happen during the day when the kids are in school, so that I can just enjoy. In the morning we follow an advent from The Friend, we read a scripture about Christ and what he taught us and with that we have some kind of simple service. We took up Presidents Monson's tradition and as a family we read, The Mansion, A Christmas Carol, and Luke 2, we also added another book that I highly recommend called The Fourth Wisemen. The last couple of years, gathering around and reading these books has truly brought the Christ Spirit into our home.

    And by the way. Thank you for your incredible talents and sharing them with those of us who do not know you personally. You are such a beautiful person. I made your felt nativity this year and I can already tell it will be a treasured item for years. Thank you!

  7. We work hard to make sure our children (and we!) remember THE Reason for the Season: not gifts but THE Gift, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God. As St John tells us in Scripture: 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.' (John 3: 16-17)

    One tradition we love is the Jesse Tree, where you read a passage from Scripture and hang an ornament on a small tree or your Christmas tree (before all the bling goes up!), in anticipation of the coming of Christ. Jesse Tree Treasures on Etsy make some beautiful ornaments.

    We also have an Advent wreath, where we light a candle for each week of Advent and say some prayers. Again, a beautiful tradition of anticipation and preparation!

    Oh, we also have a beautiful nativity set that we purchased from Rome. Each time we go overseas we buy another one to add to our collection. They are large, but so is our tree, and we didn't want the important things swamped by the decorations :)

    We also listen to carols. And Handel's Messiah! Beautiful.

    Finally, midnight Mass or an early morning Mass. Then, let the feasting begin!

    A blessed Christmas to you.


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