“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”
Yay!! The holidays are upon us and once again, we have opportunities to add a little joy to the life of others. Surely, that’s the spirit of the holidays and surely, that is something we can all get excited about. I realize that the holidays can bring sadness to so many people as they remember loved ones who are no longer with them and for some, the holidays bring the reality of loneliness or isolation. That is why it is so important that each of us take some time to ponder what we and our family can do to bring the light of Christ to others this season.
Holiday traditions are something that is so rewarding to both young and old. First of all, it’s never too late to start a tradition. When I meet people around the holidays, I always ask them, “Tell me about your holiday traditions” and people just light up when they talk about activities that their family did every year. It’s so special to have such memories and to have things that are unique to your family. May I suggest that this year, you take the time to consider if you have some traditions that bless others and if not, consider creating a new family tradition. May I share with you a list of some fun traditions that my family does:
Each year we go to the store and allow everyone in the family to buy a new Christmas ornament, even mom and dad. Make sure you write everyone’s name on their ornament. It is so joyful to open the Christmas ornament box each year and be reunited with our special ornaments. And, when our children marry, they can take their ornaments and memories to their own tree.
Each year we adopt a family for Christmas. Sometimes, if money is tight or a family is really large, we invite 1 or 2 other families to join us so it’s not too much of a financial burden. Then, we meet on Christmas Eve (or the night before) and stack the presents up on the family’s doorstep, knock and run. Boy have we had some fun doing this over the years.
Each year, my girl cousins and aunts (and grandmother when she was living), meet starting in October and begin making our traditional Christmas cookies. We make one kind each get-together and then everyone goes home with one tin of cookies. By the time Christmas rolls around, we each have 5-7 tins of our favorite Christmas cookies to give to friends and eat ourselves. This tradition has been such an important way for us to stay connected to each other and we all feel like our grandmother is proud that we have carried this tradition forward.
What are your family traditions? We would all love to read and gain ideas of special traditions that we could incorporate into our family. Please share in the comments below.
Merry Christmas! May the light of Christ penetrate your home and your heart throughout this special month. May we bring this light to as many as we can. May we remember the elderly, the lonely, the down trodden. May we share of ourselves in every way.
It’s chilly out there! Which can only mean Christmas is right around the corner. Shhh… my wife starts to freak out when someone says that. She has a ton of responsibility to make it all happen. I on the other hand… get to have fun the whole month.
It’s all just so Christmassy. My Christmas mindset has been formed by all the holiday specials that I’ve watched over the last five decades. It all started with Rudolph, Charlie Brown, The Little Drummer Boy, the Walton’s-The Homecoming, and Frosty.
Of course the Christmas classic that kicks off the season is Miracle on 34th Street… the old one… with Natalie Wood as the little girl who learns to believe. The cool thing about the movie is that it involved real places… places you can visit… and I like that.
I’ve never been to the actual house that little Natalie gets in the end, but you can visit the home used in the movie.
I have been to other Christmas movie homes. I visited Ralphie’s home in A Christmas Story (“You’ll shoot your eye out”). It’s in Cleveland, and it has a cool little museum attached. Just north of Chicago I visited Kevin McAllister’s home in the Christmas classic Home Alone. And I’ve even visited Lucy’s apartment in the couples’ chick flick While You Were Sleeping (also in Chicago).
There’s just something fascinating to me about seeing the actual places in the movies. That’s why I’ve made a special effort to see the Banks’ House in Father of the Bride (Pascedena, CA), The Brady Bunch House (In Los Angeles), and even the parking lot where Marty McFly blasted into the future.
Did I mention I grew up in the town where part of Hoosiers was filmed?
The cool thing is that you can find the address to about any favorite movie location you can think of on the Internet. So if you want a fun little side trip, Google your favorite Christmas movie (or any movie for that fact). You just might be surprised that it’s not far from you.
I still have a few Christmas movie spots on my bucket list: Duncan’s Toy Store from Home Alone (Chicago) and Ernest’s gaudily decorated home in Ernest Saves Christmas (Orlando).
Swing wide and keep your eye on Christmas!
PS – Even if you don’t visit your favorite movie spot, you can use Google street view to see it up close.
Are you traveling for the holidays? A long car trip can become a fun, active learning event. Ask your children to participate in the preparation for the trip. There are more things to consider – they will learn from some you take for granted.
Ask them to do a little research about where you are going. Consider questions like these:
How many miles will the total trip take? How much time will the driving take at the speed limit?
How many gallons of fuel will be needed?
What is the estimated fuel cost of the trip? Have they considered round trip cost?
Allow them to map the route and project good stop and fuel locations. Are overnight stops necessary?
There’s climate and weather to consider while deciding what supplies are needed.
How many changes of clothing are needed?
There are so many more things you can include. It really depends on the ages of your children.
Once you are on the road, allow your children to map the route as you go. There are certainly easier ways with GPS nowadays, but this is a way for your children to engage in good, old-fashioned map reading which could save them from a predicament someday.
You may decide to give each of them a journal and ask them to draw pictures and write about points of interest along the way. They can also document the results of their preparation. Were their estimates and planning arrangements correct or were corrections needed along the way? These are excellent learning experiences.
There are some fun car games that everyone can play such as “I Spy”. Sometimes these games can sound “stupid” but if you play too, then they’ll enjoy playing and feeling silly with you – time flies. The ultimate outcome is that the long, dreaded trip becomes something everyone is looking forward to, and great memories are made.
Holiday baking can make Christmas memories bright. Lots of patience and learning takes place simultaneously and the result is always scrumptious! We’ve found a fun “cookie-craft”, if you will. This recipe is a takeoff on the traditional sugar cookie. They are very pretty and great for packing into Christmas cookie trays or even taking to… Read More
The holidays are in full swing and for gardeners like me, it’s time to head indoors for the comfort of family, friends, hot cocoa, and home-cooked meals. And while I long to be in my garden, heading inside doesn’t mean I have to tuck my green thumb in and hide it away. On the contrary.… Read More
Now that Christmas is right around the corner, most of us begin to focus on gift giving. If you are very organized, you’ve been working on this for a while now. For the rest of us, we are busily considering our budgets and options. Many of the best and most personal gifts are handmade, with… Read More
As I write this it’s a week before Thanksgiving. Upstairs I can hear my kids singing Christmas carols and Christmas is in the air. My kids come by the Christmas magic naturally because their dad loves the season. There are just so many good smells, sights, and feelings about the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.… Read More