Merry, merry Christmas!

I hope that you and yours are enjoying a wonderful holiday together with loved ones all around.  And while we know that sometimes the holidays can be difficult due to personal losses, please be confident that the King of Kings knows your pain and is at your side offering you peace and comfort during this Christmas season.

Today, Christmas Day, a few friends and I would like to give you a little peek into our homes and lives. Rest assured that I’m NOT working today…my laptop is closed (ok, at least for most of the day), and I am very much enjoying family time in all its pain and glory 😉

One thing I’ve noticed over the years about traditions…

They sometimes change as time passes. For example, when my kids were younger (and I had less of them), I actually made Christmas pajamas for them, and that was the one gift they could open on Christmas Eve. Of course, after a few years, they figured out the deal, and just about that time, we had younger ones in the nest and, well, who had time to sew pj’s for everyone?! But I still have those memories…

Pat – Every Christmas morning, my husband Paul gets up early, starts a fire in the dining room fireplace, and opens up his Bible to Luke’s Christmas story in chapter 2.  The kids have always had strict orders NOT to wake us up before 7 am, but as they get older, we’re finding that we have to go wake them up!  We sit around the dining room table and listen as he reads and then we pounce on the stockings!  I usually try to get breakfast out during this time…perhaps an egg casserole I prepared the night before, or sometimes frozen waffles or cold cereal (really, it depends on my mood – LOL!).  By the time we’re finished, we head out into the family room where we take turns opening gifts.  Usually, one of the kids dons a Santa hat and passes them out; it’s really cute when Hope (our youngest) does it…  Now that she’s a teen, however, she’s been foregoing the Santa hat… And then the day long eating-fest begins!  I try to have shopped for and prepared quick, easy to fix, easy to eat and easy to clean-up meals so that we can all graze and I’m not stuck in the kitchen.  Paul’s mom will come over and we’ll spend the day messin’ around with our gifts, listening to Christmas music, and eating.  This year I think the kids have plans to see a movie, and then in the evening we’ll bundle up (if it’s cold) and drive around to see the lights or head over to our local zoo’s Festival of Lights.  If we’re lucky, our two oldest and their spouses will grace our hearth (fingers crossed!). Fun times :-)!  And that’s pretty much been our Christmas for quite a few years now…

Candy used to be the other half of our blogging team, and she’s sharing her story here, too. – Our Christmas “traditions” are a bit more flexible than most. Christmas looks a little different from year to year with the only common thread being that our family is always together in some way, shape, or form for the holiday. On years that turn out to be more normal we spend time with my extended family on Christmas Eve and then Christmas morning finds us at our house with ALL the kids at home (be still, my heart!). This year’ll be one of those normal years… I’ll pop a hash brown casserole in the oven while we open presents. Then I’ll whip up some pancakes and homemade syrup ~ everybody’s favorite! At some point during the day, somebody will catch me crying. It always happens. My heart fills up with joy and it just spills right over and rolls down my cheeks.

From Ticia Messing  at Adventures in Mommydom:

1. My great grandma made Santa cookies, I even have the newspaper article she cut out and saved that has the recipe on it taped to keep it together and her original cookie cutters. I’m going to be making some later today.
2. We started a few years ago with the wandering wise men, instead of the elf on the shelf and I love seeing the kids get excited by the tradition and moving the wise men around the house.

From Colleen Tucker Kessler at Raising Lifelong Learners:

We wrap the entrance to the family room where our tree is, and leave one present in the kids’ rooms. They open those and play together for a bit, buying us a little more sleep. Then, they burst through the wrapped entryway together when we’re all up.

From Tiffany Jennings-Jordan at Homeschool Hideout:

We do an activity Advent where we do a fun activity with our kids each day of December until Christmas. The activities are mostly easy but some force us to take time to make memories. We started the tradition when our kids we’re in public school. We found that we were so busy running around and stressing out, we weren’t enjoying our kids and making our own memories. It’s forced us to slow down and really spend time together as a family.

From Sallie Borrink at Sallie Borrink:

When we decorate the tree and house, we listen to the same three CDs in the same order every year. They are CDs my husband and I bought when we were engaged over twenty years ago and put up our first tree together in my apartment. 

From Kay Chance at Cultivate My Heart:

Our strangest Christmas tradition comes from something we call the “The Placing of the Odd-a-ments”. Over the years we have been gifted with some unique ornaments—a stuffed unicorn, an old-fashioned girl riding a bike with angel wings sprouting from her back, what we call the “beheaded Santa collection” (why we have multiple ornaments of only Santa’s head is beyond me!), and there are more. We always decorate the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving and place The Odd-a-ments on the back of the Christmas tree  I have boys if you haven’t guessed 

From Ann Karako at Annie and Everything:

The kids each pick a name (amongst themselves) for a Secret Santa — and they have to buy the gift at Dollar Tree. They open these on Christmas Eve.

From Michelle Caskey at Homeschool-Your-Boys:

We always watch the movie The Nativity Story the night before we open gifts to help us keep our focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

From Chellie Lee Guthrie at The Planted Tree:

1) I wrap books and movies to countdown Christmas. Each night the kids unwrap one and we watch or read it that night.
2) We spend one day doing nothing but baking Christmas goodies for people (neighbors, sanitation workers, mail carrier, librarians, church elders). The next day we drive around and deliver. The kids LOVE it!
3) We have a Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt one night where we drive through a neighborhood and each kid had their checklist of things to look for. Whoever finds all of their items first wins the prize, usually something silly and Christmas themed I pick up from the store. (I have a blog post about this tradition with free printable scavenger hunt lists if you want to use it)
4) After that, we stop by Hobby Lobby on the way home and everyone picks a new ornament to put on our tree. The only rule is that the ornament has to represent something from our lives this year. It’s so fun when we pull out ornaments from years gone by and we all tell the story of what that ornament means.
Lol, can you tell I love Christmas?!?

From Rebecca Reid at Line Upon Line Learning:

I buy each kid a box of sugar cereal of their choice (the kind I never buy the rest of the year) for a Christmas morning present (or breakfast!). We call it “Santa cereal” so the rest of the year if they say “Mom, can we get _____?” I just say, “You’ll have to ask Santa for that one!”

From Tatiana Aduria at The Musings of Mum:

Image may contain: christmas tree and outdoor

Picking out a tree is a big event. Usually the first Sunday in December, everyone wears Santa hats and all 8 of us pile into the van. We’ve never found a tree we all agree on the first lot, we usually find one on the 7th or 8th stop. We listen to Christmas music the entire time. When we get home we play Nightmare Before Christmas, while we decorate in the other room. We only stop and run to the TV to sing “what’s this”. Each kid has specific ornaments they put on the tree, they each get a new ornament each year which means our tree keeps getting bigger every year, and finally, the kids take turns in placing the star on the tree. This year it was Amaya’s turn (kid #4), and the tree is 14’.


From Kirstee Lea Raki at This Whole Home:

We decorate our Advent wreath as we go. It sits on our dining table with 4 candles inside. Each week has a different theme. Week 1 we add pretty stones and shells to our display. Week 2 we add greenery and flowers. Week 3 we add all of our little animal ornaments. Week 4 we add our people and decorate a gingerbread house to sit beside the wreath. By Christmas Eve it is quite a large display!

See something you’d like to start at your place? Feel free to Pin this post and refer to it again next fall as you prepare for the Christmas season!

Wherever you are and whomever you’re with, I hope you enjoy a Merry Christmas filled with love and laughter!  And if you’re struggling this year, I’ll be praying that the God of peace will comfort you and envelope you in His love and mercy as He walks by your side…  

You are loved!

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