Wednesday, December 16, 2015

As you get older I think you start to really reflect on what you do in life and most importantly, WHY you do it. Since we've had Penelope I've been really conscious about not wanting to her to have too much "stuff". Mostly toys, but in everything else I really am conscious of simplifying everything in our household so that there is an appreciation for what we do have. That brings me to Christmas.

Christmas is my favorite holiday by far. And it used to be when I was a kid because of the presents, but now it's just the spirit of it. It's the hot drinks and fires in our fireplace and how everyone seems to be in better spirits. It's seeing little kids iceskating, wearing their big puff jackets, or couples snuggling up together to keep warm. The spirit of giving is thick in the air and I love that this time of year more then ever, people are so selfless. It's awesome.

This year though as I go further into becoming a Christian and what that means, I can't help but feel a little dissatisfied with what's been forgotten. Along the way it seems that Christmas has brought a sense of entitlement, lots of stress, lots of debt and most importantly forgetting the fact that it's the day Jesus was born. So in asking my self regularly why we as a family do the things we do, I asked myself "how will Christmas be celebrated this year...and why?"

This year is going to be so different because their isn't a huge budget for presents. It's not about getting the presents and I want to make that clear to our kids. You will get presents, somehow we'll work in who Santa is, but I don't want them to consider Christmas only a holiday in which they come to expect masses of crap under the tree. I want to teach them that the spirit of giving is just as awesome as the spirit of receiving. How are we going to do that with them so young right now? Baking cookies, taking time to decorate them and handing them out to loved ones. Plating leftovers from Christmas and handing them out to homeless people.

It's not about the stress that comes with "will this person like this" or "oh gosh, we have run our credit cards dry". I want to teach them to save a couple months ahead for the holiday and keep the budget low. It's not about the price of the gifts or how many your giving. It's simply about the thought that went into it. Even in picking a tree, every year normally I'm so crazy about getting the EXACT one. This year I really didn't care and we got a random one from Costco because I realized, it's not about the right tree. It's about decorating the tree together as a family and drinking our hot chocolate and playing Christmas music. The spirit of family and spending time together.

And what is Christmas? It's the day Jesus was born. I want my kids to know and understand that. To honor and be aware of that. This year we'll be going to the Christmas Eve church service and I'm also going to be purchasing some children's books about the story of when Jesus was born. When the kids get a little older, I want to delve into a daily advent reading of the bible and what that means. It's funny because I never considered myself super religious (whatever that even means), but I do want the kids to be raised in a Christian household. I do want them to know why Christmas even exists and the true meaning of it. One of the things I admired most about my husband when I first met him was his faith and his dedication to it.

So this year we're doing everything a little different. Not emphasizing the perfect tree, or giving tons of gifts to the kids. We're taking pleasure in the simple moments, like having Penelope help me wrap a present even though it could look a lot better. Or decorating the tree together (and me not going back and fixing the ornaments lol).  Baking gingerbread cookies together and talking about how much her friends will love them. Beginning to explain who Jesus is and what Christmas is. Just simplifying the materialistic aspect and really slowing down to capture the spirit. I want our memories to be ones of great company and great food.

In the meantime, I have a little more time to figure out some fun traditions my husband and I get to start as a family. What are some traditions you guys do?

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