I’ve been feeling pretty sentimental this year. Maybe it’s because I turned forty, or maybe it’s because my kids have grown out of the baby stage and are old enough to remember what we do. In any case, I’ve been thinking more about the holidays, Christmas especially, and what I want it to look like for our family.
Now, I know that things come up. People get sick. Plans change. Life happens in ways that are out of our control. That’s life. Perfect doesn’t exist. In spite of all that, as I’ve been reflecting on my childhood, my kids’ current experiences, and how I hope my kids remember their childhoods when they eventually have families of their own, here are a few key areas we’ll be prioritizing this year.
I don’t want the holidays to be one big, mad rush from Thanksgiving to New Years. I want to have time. Time to prepare without rushing. Time to make stuff together, to giggle, to sing the songs and tell the stories. Time to play with the presents and read the books. Instead of a headlong rush through activities and events, I want them to remember the magic of a slow Christmas. I want to get to church early, to savor opening the gifts, to drive aimlessly around looking for Christmas lights.
I want to have time to pursue the kids’ interests, too, instead of being so wrapped up in the “must do’s” that their preferences get pushed to the side. In the last couple years, this has meant reading more stories, learning songs together, outdoor play in the snow, lots of crafts, and indoor snow play too.
I want my kids to remember time we spent together, whether as an immediate family or with cousins, grandparents, etc. I want it to be about “us” rather than “me.” When I reflect on my childhood, it’s those cozy evenings around the fire, or singing while decorating, or making sugar cookies together, that I remember. We choose to make time for each other, to experience the season together, and to consider each others’ needs and schedules as we build memories together.
We will be prioritizing a few key events that we do every year. These become treasured seasonal landmarks for the kids, and they can mark their growth in how they have changed compared to previous years. For us, these include:
- St. Nicholas Day
- decorating the tree together
- looking at our favorite Christmas lights
- opening our advent calendars every evening
- reading the Christmas story together
- our church’s family Christmas Eve service
- wrapping gifts for siblings
Simple things. Most don’t cost anything, and they can be scheduled pretty flexibly.
Because we homeschool, it’s easier than for most to avoid a lot of the commercialism and one-ups-manship that pervades American culture. We can say “no” to the things that are too much or that are out of line with our priorities, and that makes time for the things that really matter. Time. Togetherness. Tradition. Faith. Hope. and Love.
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If you’re looking for some great ideas for ways to spread Christmas cheer this year, you’ll love this Christmas Kindness Calendar! In fact, you may just decide to use it each year and start a new family tradition! (Be sure to laminate it if you want to re-use it each year. Or you can print it out each year and mark each one off as you go.) CLICK HERE to go to the article to download this printable calendar!
If you’re looking for some fun and meaningful Christmas Eve traditions for your family – or even if you’re just curious about the Christmas Eve traditions of other families all over the United States, you’ll enjoy this article! CLICK HERE to read Christmas Eve Traditions for Families.
Or you might enjoy some of these suggestions for some Family Christmas Traditions! CLICK HERE to go the article to read about traditions suggested by families from all over the United States.