Our Christmas Traditions

Christmas traditions are a great way for a family to bond and create memories together. But more than that, traditions present the perfect opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Children often associate Christmas with gift giving and the Christmas decors but what do these really mean? Why do we do these every Chrisrmas season? I am grateful that along with the kids, we discuss what these symbols stand for and learn that Christ is the true meaning and true reason we celebrate.

The book Adventure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel has been a great help to our family. Every December, we read the book daily and discuss the different traditions that we do, how these traditions started and why they are important.

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We read the Bible story of Jesus birth to remind us how Jesus came and what we learn from his humble story. We also are reminded of how majestic Jesus really is but chose to be born on a manger.

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We read different Christmas stories together – enriching our hearts and enlightening our minds.

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We do Christmas activities together. A few years ago, we put up the Jesse Tree. We went to our neighbors to sing Christmas carols. We put up Christmas decors around the house together. This year, we plan to do a Nativity scene together.

We love our Christmas traditions as they build memories and enrich our lives. What are your Christmas traditions?

Christ is the Reason for the Season

Christmas is just 14 days away and I haven’t done my Christmas shopping yet. Anyway, I have noticed that the Christmas season seems to bring more stress to people now than the past years. Everywhere you go, the stores sell all sorts of items which could be possible Christmas gifts for your loved ones and friends. But as I take a moment to reflect, the gift giving isn’t the most important aspect of Christmas at all. It is Christ.

Most often than not, Christ is no longer the reason why people gather or exchange gifts. Christ is not even mentioned and remembered during the entire party or gathering. There is nothing wrong with all the merriment, but if Christ is not mentioned, everything is just meaningless. In our family, we are intentionally bringing back Christ into our Christmas.

I would like to share with you some ways to bring Christ back into Christmas:

Discuss the advent.  We read Bible verses together starting December 1 until December 25. We discuss, do crafts and pray together as we reflect on the meaning of the season. This year, we are using Why Christmas ebook as our devotional guide.

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Discover the meaning of Christmas symbols such as the Christmas tree, why Christmas is celebrated o December 25th, gift giving, Santa Claus and other details. We used the book  The Adevnture of Christmas the past years to do this.

Do the Jesse Tree. It brings a different kind of perspective into Christmas. We saw how God has been involved in mankind’s creation to salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ. We worked on the Jesse Tree last year.

Develop a thankful attitude. Instead of talking about wish lists, make a thankfulness list and share it together as a family. We started a blessings jar at the beginning of the year and we plan to open this jar as a family come Christmas eve. There are many blessings through out the year and it is so easy to take these blessings for granted.

Christmas is all about Christ giving us the best gift which is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Let us not forget that He is the reason for this joyous season.

Keeping Christ in Christmas

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“I’m participating in the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little SaintsTruly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas season. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”

Christmas is my favorite season of the year. Probably because every one is extra nice, and because I get to spend some time with special people like family and friends. But more than that, I love Christmas because we are celebrating the birth of Christ. But through the years, I have noticed that Christmas has become more of a “gift giving” season rather than celebrating the birth of Christ. Seldom do we hear families reflecting on who Christ is and what Christmas really means.

For our family, we have started to do different Christmas family traditions where we focus on Christ. This year, we started our Jesse Tree. Every day, we read Bible verses starting with God’s creation of the world until the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This is how our Jesse Tree looks like right now.

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Last year, we went through the book The Adventure of Christmas. It is a good way to understand where several of our Christmas traditions come from. Like the Christmas tree, the Christmas lights, candy cane and why we decorate the Christmas tree. We get to be reminded why we do all of these fun fare during the Christmas season.

A few weeks before Christmas, our family sings Christmas carols which reflect Christ’s birth and life. We get reminded that it is all about his birth which makes Christmas special. We also remember that He came to earth to give His life for us. We do our share by giving our best to the poor and less fortunate people of our society. Giving and sharing is what makes Christmas really special.

How do you and your family keep Christ is Christmas? Share them with us!

Here are the links to the other blog carnival participants. I hope you’ll take the time to visit them and leave a comment on their posts! 🙂 The list will be updated throughout the day, so please do come back and check on them. God bless us all!
Homeschool Mosaics: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Joy: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Advent Interruptions
The Breadbox Letters: Interrupted by Glory
TwentyTuesdayAfternoons: Keeping Christ in Christmas/ The Season of Giving / A Wee Bit of Beach Holiday Angst
The Learning Basket: Staying With the Nativity Story
Tercets: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Rosary Mom: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Ate Maui: Hoping and Bringing Hope
Written By the Finger of God: 12 Traditions for Keeping Christ in Christmas
Dominique’s Desk: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Felix at Fifty: What Jesus Wants for Christmas
Mommy Bares All: Birthday Cake for the Birthday Boy on Christmas Day
Between Now and Later: Keeping Christ in Christmas, I am trying…
Lique’s Antics: Family Antics: Christmas Reflection
Life of Fortunate Chances: Our First Ever Christmas: Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Mommy Journey: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Roller Coaster Ride: How to Remind Your Kids of Jesus Christ This Christmas
Cymplified: Christ -Centered Christmas: Cymplified!
Mountain Grace: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Touring Kitty: Grown-up Christmas List
Mommy Chinkysoup for the Soul: A Very Special Christmas
City Girl, Country Home: Finding Jesus in a Flurry
Coffee Moments with Sam: Christmas Unwrapped: 5 Presents Our Kids Truly Deserve
Raising Lifelong Learners: Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Diary of a Sower: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Celebrating the Golden Days
Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Raising (and Teaching) Little Saints: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Truly Rich Mom: The Greatest Gift of All This Christmas
Joy-Filled Family: CHRIST in Christmas
Blueberry 010: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Jesus is the Reason for the Season
Deeper Truth Blog: Keeping Christ in Christmas Carnival
Holy Ducklings: 10 Ways to Make Advent Special for Your Little Ducklings
Green Eggs and Moms: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Green Eggs & Moms Style!

Focus on Giving Using Christmas Stockings

Christmas is just about 2 weeks away. Have you finished with the preparations already? Christmas preparations need not be the stressful. In our family, we see it as a way to remember God’s mercy and unfailing love upon His people. We decorate the house remembering how this tradition actually started many years ago and what it really means. It is not just some meaningless tradition but we decorate to remember Christ who came to the world to die for our sins and was raised again.

There are several decorations that we usually do, the Christmas tree, the lights and the Parol. We have not yet tried the Christmas stocking as we always try to focus Christmas on giving to others rather than expecting something for ourselves during the season. But every now and then, I see some cute decorations that is nice to put up.  I have seen some personalized Christmas stocking from  The Warm Biscuit Bedding Company. I think it would actually make a good decoration for the room of the kids. These personalized Christmas stockings are made from fabrics that are handsewn. The designs are made with fun designs, whimsical fabrics and can be personalized with up to 10 letters. What a fun way to add character to their room and bring a personal touch to it too.

Instead of filling it up with gifts for them, we fill the stockings with gifts that the kids want to share with others. Each child chooses a toy which they like and share it with a less fortunate child. This way, they learn to share what really matters, and not just something that they don’t want. It is a wonderful way to focus on giving using Christmas stockings.

The Jesse Tree, An Advent Family Tradition

Advent is the time when we all wait for Christmas day. Kids are excited with all the gifts and the adults are busy preparing gifts for one another. As a family, we have decided to use family traditions to remind ourselves the true meaning of Christmas. Last year, we did The Adventure of Christmas and we all learned what the traditions we are used to really meant and where they came from.

This year, I wanted to do something different. I first heard of the Jesse Tree from The Learning Basket website last year. It was something that the kids and I wanted to do to make Christmas even more meaningful. Though at first, I was unsure how I would go about the whole thing but when I saw the devotional and free Jesse Tree printouts from  A Holy Experience, I knew that we had all we need to do our first ever Jesse Tree.

The Jesse Tree is a family Advent tradition that came from Isaiah 11:1. Jesse is the name of David’s father, from whose lineage will come the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. In that verse, it was prophesied that from the stump and branch of Jesse shall  bear fruit. Through remembering important stories from the  Old Testament until the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, we shall see the complete picture of what Christmas really is all about. Each day, an ornament depicting the story we read will be hung on the tree.

So, this is how we did our Jesse Tree. We took a plant that was dying from our garden. We also got a pot and some stones. My daughter painted the stones with the words “hope, faith, love and joy”. She also painted the pot.  We printed the printouts from A Holy Experience. We cut them and put them on cards and attached some strings. After going through the devotional of the day, we put the cards on the tree.

We enjoyed doing The Jesse Tree. Every member of the family is actively participating and we get to talk about what God has done, what God is doing in our life.