It’s the time of year again when I begin to feel…lets just say- conflicted. I am so anxious to enjoy all of the warm & cozy indoor activities with my kiddos! We are especially excited to test out our cookie making techniques in the new kitchen. Last year we had everyone home on a snowy night during Christmas break & all watched a couple of our favorite throwback movies, Teen Wolf & Back to the Future. I love to spend a little extra time in my craft room & a little extra time in my pajamas. Maybe even do some sledding or take a quick ski trip together – suppose we all have snow gear that fits?. My point is all of this is great WINTER stuff- but not really CHRISTMAS. As a Christian mom, I find it difficult to balance the secular Christmas expectations with the church traditions I really value. Christmas as a child was so exciting, and if I’m being honest, most of that childhood excitement was found in anticipation of gifts, Santa Clause & parties. In cleaning through the “old” kitchen supplies I decided that there were a few items I’d been making use of since my bridal shower 20 years ago & it was time to replace. I am finding some artificial excitement of my own in a set of new mixing bowls & baking utensils. Who doesn’t find themselves buying a “little gift for themselves” this season too?
I struggle to provide excitement & the true meaning of Christmas all in one. I bet I’m not alone. So I began to brainstorm ways & traditions that I feel I should now refer to as Christmas traditions & some that I feel I should leave at Winter traditions. I know its just a difference of a single word, but here’s my starter list for example
The weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas eve. I am adding an advent wreath & candles to our home –immediately. The kids have made paper versions over the years & I’m suddenly feeling ashamed we don’t even own one. I love seeing it in church & it’s so symbolic of the waiting- both now for Christmas & for the general waiting to be close to God in Eternal life.
Christmas eve Mass. Its a day full of last minute preparations for us usually & the kids are all home so progress is usually slow, but I love the feeling of evening mass, especially when extended family can join us. The Christmas dresses- while definitely not necessary, are something that make the little girls feel that Christ’s birthday is an extra special occasion.
Christmas eve fondue. It’s been our own little tradition for a number of years to gather at our house with any family who is around & free after church to break out the fondue pot. I usually just do chocolate, but this year I think I’m going to add a cheese option too. We all come home hungry after church & usually just have sandwiches & snacks & then make the fondue. Favorites at our house are strawberries & bananas to dip.
Baby Jesus’ Birthday cake. Not a cake at all, but a monkey bread recipe with candles or a few Christmas sprinkles on top. Just a reminder to us all that day isn’t all about Santa. We have hot cocoa & flavored coffee & take our time with breakfast.
Christmas Thank Yous. Here’s one that I’m not always great about fitting in…both for myself & for the kids. This year the littles in the family are each receiving packs of personalized writing paper as gifts & I’m hoping they’ll be excited to use it to let the rest of the family & friends who shopped & wrapped for them this season that they do actually appreciate their efforts.
And yes the gifts…I am planning on Santa stopping at our house as he has every year since we’ve been parents, but I feel like this year Santa may be a little more selective. I don’t feel the need to have stocking stuffed with junk toys & poor quality body care products that will end up in the landfill before summer, and aren’t a few well thought through gifts better than a hoard of meaningless stuff? Because I’m an Etsy seller myself, I’m partial to supporting the other artisans there…so I’m going to give a few of them a little love this Christmas & share my handmade shopping list as well today, along with links in case you’d like to order your own…
Handmade cosmetic bags for my girls.
…Cute & just the right size for Christa & a few small items in a dance bag, or for the littles to keep a toothbrush & hairbrush in their overnight bag ready to go…Lots of choices of fabrics & sizes too…
…I made them a set a few years ago, which they mostly used for play, but I just think these are so cute & we’re probably ready for a size up. I’d love to have a picture of them in their little aprons rolling out sugar cookies in a cozy kitchen.