03 Oct Preparing for Christmas
- We have a custom of celebrating Advent. We gather the family around and burn one candle on the first Sunday of Advent in the evening while we read a part of the bible that has to do with the Holy family. We do this each Sunday, lighting one more candle each time. We also make up a plate with candies, fruit, and walnuts for everyone to enjoy when we are done the reading. It builds nice family memories. Our son now keeps this tradition with his family. The only thing he changed was no candies, only fruit, and walnuts. Lidwien G.
- Do you waste time rewriting your long list of holiday ‘to do’s’ every year? Save time and feel more in control by using the same set of index cards to keep track of your tasks year after year. Write just one activity or chore on each card and arrange them in an order that makes sense to you. Place them upright in a small recipe box. Having just one thing written on each card makes the task feel less overwhelming. When the job is done, simply move the card to the back and go on to the next card. Dianne W. (She got it from We Organize U Ezine which she has a free subscription to. Visit WeOrganizeU.com.)
- We like the advent wreath as it spreads out the Christmas cheer, with a prayer with the lighting of the candles. It is calming. Peter R.
- We wait until first Sunday of Advent to decorate, then make it a family affair. We travel to a countryside tree farm to cut our tree then come back and decorate it together. We also put up other indoor decorations around this time including our nativity set. We do a family devotion each night (at the dinner table after eating) during Advent to prepare our minds and hearts. Some nights we do two devotion book passages – one at an intellectual adult’s level, and one meant for children. Stephanie W.
- Since I have young kids and a lot of their friends coming over at our house, I use unbreakable Christmas ornaments instead of glass ones, so I do not have to mind those little fingers when the company is over. A good place to look (and you do have to look a bit) for such inexpensive unbreakable ornaments is at Zellers, the Dollar Store, and Wall Mart. You could put the glass ornaments at the top of the tree where little hands cannot reach. My motto for Christmas is please do not get wrapped up and anxious about doing things to be perfect on a lavish scale, but from the heart and keeping it simple and enjoyable. After all the greatest gift to mankind came to be born in a stable and lay in a manger. So let’s not forget that and enjoy the season the way it should be done with family and friends. Merry Christmas! Liza H.
- What I did when my children were younger, is that I had them all involved in all of the preparations. We decorated together, baked together and they also helped me shop. They would pick things up for me in their travels. Even now with the family grown, they offer to help. One of my daughters will be home for Christmas and I know she will help me with the meal preparations. What seems to be a tradition is one of my boys decorates the outside of the house. With more than twenty strings of lights, it is a sight to behold and I think that he gets some pride in seeing how his brothers enjoy his display although it has overloaded our breaker a few times! What is really important is that you try to find a way to include your family in whatever you do! You build lots of fun memories that way! Mary G.
- In our family, we all enjoyed making our own homemade nativity scene. We’d collect paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls and use them as the characters in the scene. Using fabric, cardboard, markers and cotton balls, we would create each person and animal typically at the scene. Of course, this takes a bit of time and ingenuity, but over the years it has become a favorite tradition in our home to prepare for Christmas. Clare
- I find the Christmas season overwhelming and so have tried to spread things out a bit. On the first Sunday of advent, we unearth our manager and our advent wreath. It usually takes us a couple of days before we find the candles and start lighting them after dinner every night with a small prayer and a song. We put the manager in our living room in a prominent spot but put all the figures all around the main floor. As we approach Christmas, the shepherds arrive, eventually Mary, Joseph, and their donkey; finally the baby Jesus. The wise men have the farthest distance to travel and so the kids get a big kick out of bringing them closer each week. On the second weekend of advent, we hang our outdoor lights and put up more indoor decorations. On the third Sunday, we get the tree. I find it very hard to be upbeat and non-stressed about decorating it because there are too many hands in the pot, so to speak. It’s become their special bonding time. So I usually disappear for a warm bath and a good book while my hubby and kids decorate it while listening to great Christmas tunes. They call me later for the great surprise and I always applaud their creativity. So many of the decorations have been made at school or at our kitchen table—nothing expensive, but just very meaningful to each member. On the fourth and last Sunday, we hang up our stockings. This spreads all the decorating out over four weeks and I am in a happier mood, not feeling that I have to accomplish everything at once. My kids also feel a growing sense of preparation for the big event of Christmas. The last week we get an empty clementine crate and put a piece of straw in it for every good deed we do. In no time, there’s a cozy bed to greet the baby Jesus (a doll my daughter donates) that arrives on Christmas day. Marian F.