Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thanks & Giving

This morning I showed my boys this short (it's worth it!) video that my brother sent. It has a great message. Henry stood there silent and watched and then asked to watch it again. and again. Each time I added a few comments, making sure they got the message. But I realized that he got it. The feeling.

This is the season where we can get so wrapped up and overloaded with all the activities, events, celebrations, preparations, planning, shopping, spending etc.

But it is important to think about the two words that make up the beginning of this holiday season. THANKS and GIVING.

This month we give thanks for the many treasures in our lives. The people, the traditions, the And we follow up the Novembers month of Thanks with Decembers month of giving. As I raise my children I always worry they won't grow up with the excitement to give - because it is only natural that littles focus and get so excited about the "getting".

This year I want to focus on the giving. I want to celebrate the giving up our need to spend, bake, and busy ourselves. But rather give more time to continuing to establish the little traditions that make our family a force to reckon with.  I want our "family force" to pull our children home when they fly the coop. A force that will have them needing to  gather together. A force that will have them yearning to give to others their time, their passions, and their love.

It's time to start thinking about new traditions you want to start in December so that you can be ready to go and you don't miss the opportunity.

One tradition a friend shared that I am hoping to try this year has to do with all the Christmas and holiday books.   They take all their holiday books for the winter season and they wrap them all up. Each day the children get to open one and that is the holiday bedtime story for the day. If you don't have enough holiday books on your own bookshelf, well, hit up the library and just wrap and make sure to open those first.  Children find SO MUCH excitement and joy in wrapping and unwrapping.  Adding a little anticipation and silliness to the presentation of the books can be a new tradition in our home.  We'll have to wait and see if it is tradition worthy. 

And I plan to have them help wrap too! 

So what traditions do you already have going in your family for this holiday season?  Any that you have heard of that you are going to try? 


Raina and Andy said...

i love that book idea. i might try that with eli even tho he is a little young! we got our first package from Amazon today and it had 7 christmas gifts in it for people. I am SO excited to start wrapping them already :) RR

shellycoulter said...

I LOVE Christmas Traditions! I want to establish more...but here is what we got so far.

We have bought each of the boys a Christmas book every year of their life. We pack them away with all the Christmas stuff so they are new and fresh every year. We also write in the cover of each of them with notes about what they love and why we are so thankful for them..include the date. Its fun to read those little notes. We also keep the Christmas books under the Christmas tree. Its a fun place to store them. :) The last two years I have had the Christmas book pre-purchased and wrapped before the night we get our Christmas tree. So after the tree is all decorated I put the books under and then they boys were all surprised when I said they could open them. :) Then they can enjoy the Christmas book all through the season. I think these books are one of my most prized possessions. I LOVE getting them out. Kind of silly...but just reminds me of those times in life when I read the little notes. We also go to the mountains and snowshoe in to cut down our Christmas tree. Last year the boys got cold and started crying so I pulled them around on a sled while Matt hiked in to get our tree...but they still talk about it like it was the most wonderful time...even though they cried for most of it. Haha! :) Another tradition we started two years ago is to use the WorldVision gift catalog. We already got ours this year. We tell them that they each get to pick something out of it to buy for another kid/family who needs it. (its items like clean water, medicine, goats, etc) They pick it out (Eli picked for them both the last two years but Sim is picking for himself this year). Then WorldVision sends you a very nice card with a picture of what you bought and a note saying it was bought in each of their names. We put those envelopes on the tree and open them Christmas morning. We fill their stockings and buy each boy only one toy each and then one game or activity that is for them to share. They still get a TON of stuff from grandparents and stuff...but its not so much "receiving" on Christmas morning. We also have birthday cake for breakfast (a bday cake for Jesus). They have enjoyed this. I'm sure it is a tradition that we will probably only do while they are young...but its fun! :) We have a healthier breakfast after we open our presents around 9 or 10. :)

We also laid down the law that we will have Christmas morning at home. People can come to our house and we will travel after lunch...but we want our kids home in their beds on Christmas Eve and morning. I love this! :)

A new tradition that I'm starting this year. I'm going to try to make them something every year for their stockings. This year its a Shutterfly calendar for Eli. And felt cookies for Simeon (the boy loves playing with the play-food in the kitchen). :)

And, of course, cookie decorating and delivering to neighbors and friends. :)

Sorry this is so long. Ha! I love Christmas! :)

Stepping On Cheerios said...

Love the post and love the new banner. Hope you are having a fab fall. Just wanted you to know that I stopped by to read:)

Peggy, Jason, Lily and Connor said...

I love thinking about holiday traditions. We also have put our feet down about staying home/going to church on Christmas morning.
I am soo unsure of which traditions to start, but this year one that I'm positive about starting is having the kids choose tags from the tree at church to buy gifts for and to HELP in the choosing of gifts.
I will have lily watch the video later on to see if she gets it...i'm not sure if she will.

Danifred said...

What wonderful neighbors you have to share their leaves! Just awesome.

I think that is the perfectly disguised turkey!


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