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A Christmas You Want Your Kids to Remember


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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.

Time

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.

Togetherness

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.

Tradition

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.

Merry Christmas!

You May Also Like

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. 

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Author profile

Heather Pleier is a 2nd generation homeschooler raising three curious, creative, out-of-the-box kids on Long Island. They are eclectic game/interest-led/unschooly homeschoolers who dive deep into various interests and celebrate the freedom that homeschooling brings. Her passions include great children’s literature, dark chocolate, exploration, and music.  She writes at wonderschooling.net about preserving childhood wonder and curiosity.

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14 Comments

  1. Loved this article. I could not agree more. The simple things at Christmas time are the best. I get caught up in the commercial aspect of it way to much and this article grounded me and reminded me what is important.

  2. I know what you mean about slowing down and finding moments to savor. One of my favorite ways to slow down with the kids is our Jesse Tree. Taking each night to sit down together as a family and read the Scripture for the ornament that night brings my focus back on the true meaning for the season. While I enjoy a lot of the stuff we do around the holidays, this has to be one of my absolute favorite things!

    1. I love that tradition! My kids are mostly grown now, but we did a Jesse Tree each year as they grew up. It’s something all of us will always remember, and it reminds us to celebrate Jesus during this busy time of year.

  3. What a great post, and giveaway! One of my favorite traditions is watching the grinch movie, and we have grinch drinks, ( lime sorbet and sprite) and grinch cookies, and popcorn.

  4. Last year we did a 25 Days of Christmas crafts with my kids, 5 years and under. We take all of December off so we can focus on the season. My kids really loved it and we had new handmade ornaments for our tree!

  5. I LOVE your three T’s to creating a more connected Christmas! Children will absolutely remember the holiday kinship they experienced/felt more so than the nicely wrapped (or not so nicely, in my case…) things they received under the tree. #FeelingsLastALifetime

  6. Hi Heather!
    Fabulous idea for networking and connecting. Thank you for the opportunity and for a sweet post. I am also a bit sentimental this year. My kids are mostly grown up and almost all of them of age (five children, to be exact). I’ve always dreamed of a Christmas season where I could only do those things with my kids and take it slow. Enjoy the time spent with them and enjoy the season. Until this year I was always busy, busy, busy. Running a business, homeschooling, and all the other joys of motherhood. This year, it is different! I get to spend more time doing all those things, but my kids are either grown-up or moved away.
    Our business centered around making kids happy, came to a grinding halt this year, my husband and I had some time to rest first. Then to start creating, planning, and dreaming up new things. Now, we get to enjoy the season, reminisce, and pray!

  7. Thank you for your generosity!! This is absolutely amazing! Good luck everyone and I hope you have an amazing Christmas!

  8. I love to savor the holidays slowly with my kids. This year I want to play with my kids daily. I foresee a lot of boardgame sessions! I am looking forward to our 25 Books Christmas Countdown where we read a different seasonal children’s book each day. I think I will include a solstice mediation each day, too.

  9. I love the encouragement to cherish time and make memories with family! We love making Christmas cards every year for the families in our church, especially the shut ins whom we don’t get to see anymore. ❤️

  10. I like the traditions you mentioned. We like to cut down a tree and decorate it together, watch certain xmas movies and have special xmas pjs for the kids on xmas eve.

  11. It sure has been a difficult year for everyone, I doubt anyone has truly been spared from pain this year, thank you for doing this, every little thing makes a difference this year.

  12. That’s very cool!
    I never had a wonderful and magical Christmas when I was a kid (or maybe I did when I couldn’t remember). But I definitely want it to be my children’s best and favorite time. And I am definitely passionate about this idea. It’s incredibly important to me to spend this time as a family, especially during this challenging time. I also have my own list of activities that we do together. Soon we’ll be decorating the Christmas tree together.
    Thank you! I love your views and ideas.

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