The Season of Christmas

Confession #1: when Lite 95.9 started playing Christmas music on November 16, I was more than a little annoyed.  I love Christmas, but seriously, that is a long time to listen to Christmas music.

Confession #2: Since November 16, I’ve listened to little else.

The beautiful thing about having such a very long Christmas season is the amount of preparation time it gives you.  Preparation of the house, of the pantry, of the freezer.  Preparation of the gifts and events.  And preparation of the heart.

That last one is the one I’ve hoped to impress on my girls – and myself – this year.  What is the meaning of Christmas?  How do we cultivate the joy and hope and peace that Christ came to offer in our home, amidst the business of shopping, the stories of Santa and reindeer, and the excitement of presents under the tree?  We’ve tried a few things:

  • An advent calendar.  Do you know how hard it is to find one that has that story of Christ on it?  I saw Santa ones, snowflake ones, Cars, Beauty and the Beast and various princess ones, but nothing about Jesus.  A friend of mine, amazingly, has made it a tradition to bring us a fair trade advent calendar from Ten Thousand Villages, and it has parts of the story of the birth of Christ on every tiny little door.  Every night (well, mostly), we sit down and read through each day until that date, having Sara fill in the blanks to the story.  And then, of course, chocolate.  I’ve heard of other advent calendars that include something for the family to do every day (like bake cookies for a neighbour or someone in need, plan a family games night, write a special card for someone, etc).
  • Books.  Lots and lots of books with stories themed on joy, hope and peace, and reminders of those things throughout the day.
  • Operation Christmas Child or the like.  This year we all went shopping for the Calgary Children’s Cottage, where kids stay when they can’t stay at home.  Sara really enjoyed picking some things out!  And it helped me tone down my ideas of what was necessary for my children’s gifts.  (This is something cool my inlaws do as a gift in honor of extended family).
  • Singing carols.  Every night, when the girls go to bed, we sing carols with them.  Sara can sing most of the words now!  She has particular favourites – “Go tell it on the mountain” and “Silent night” especially.  Aliyah still just sings “Holy Holy Holy” and “Hallelujah”. (:

But of course, there are all those fun things that aren’t “spiritual” but are nonetheless a wonderful part of Christmas!  Like baking cookies and laughing at my girls licking the icing off the table, or watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and eating said cookies.  Like Heritage Park’s 12 Days of Christmas (OH, I could spend the entire week there and not have enough of it!!!).  Like playing in the snow … oh, I guess we can do that after Christmas too.  Well after, darn it.

Here’s a few memories from this season:

Spruce Meadows - I love a good hat!

Ali hanging out with her littlest 'cuz at Spruce Meadows.

Mmm cookie baking.

Trying to get her whole fist of icing into her mouth...

A little too fast for her...

Pulled it up until "my legs are tired."

Her first snowman. A little guy!

Meeting Prancer.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Angela
    Dec 18, 2011 @ 12:03:41

    More great ideas Crystal! I heard from someone once that they, before any gift giving occasion like Christmas or a birthday, have their kids choose a few of their current toys to donate to charity. It seems to instill an understanding that there are people out there not as fortunate as them, as well as that they have more than they need and it is good to be good to people you don’t even know. I know I plan to do this one when I have kids.

    Reply

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