We had a fabulous, relaxing Christmas day over here yesterday. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is attending the candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church. I love the pause to reflect not the reality of Christ’s birth. I enjoy singing the traditional Christmas carols together and hearing the Christmas story read. The evening is always special, the candles casting a spell of awe and reverence on our children. The anticipation on their faces, reminding us all of the anticipation for the Messiah so many years ago.
I love it all.
A few years ago we started the tradition of deli sandwiches on Christmas Eve. We lay out all the fixings: onions, pickles, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, cheese, several types of meat and bread, etc. It makes for easy preparation and easy cleanup.
After our Christmas Eve service at church, we come home to enjoy an evening Christmas treats. This year, I marveled that we have no babies or toddlers. There was no frantic rush to get kids into bed (so they wouldn’t be grumpy the next morning). Instead we enjoyed drawing the evening out, eating our Christmas Eve treats and enjoying one another’s company.
The last activity of the night was to have the children put out their stockings.
Years ago, when we had just Adalia and Judah, they had adorable wooden clogs purchased at a nearby Dutch town. We had them put them out on Christmas Eve as stockings and filled them with our mainstays still today: an orange, a candy cane and some chocolate. We also added a small toy or two. Chuck and I wanted to be intentional about keeping the focus of Christmas on Christ’s birth, while keeping the day special for our children. We wanted to mark the day without it become a gift-fest. We settled on the tradition of putting out stockings, filled with small items, rather than giving extravagant gifts. The kids know if they are to get something big and expensive, it will be on their birthdays, not on Christmas morning.
Looks like we had some tired kiddos on Christmas morning.
It is always a bit of challenge to come up with our stocking stuffers…I had clutter and cheap trinkets, so those are out, but we try to keep the gifts simple and inexpensive. Just something to make the day a little more fun. This year we gave stuffed toy to each the younger kids and a Kindle gift card to the older ones.
Everyone was thrilled with their gift.
Except maybe Jubilee when she pulled this Marmite out of her stocking. We pass this jar of Marmite around at every birthday. Always trying to wrap it so the recipient doesn’t realize what it is. This year, Jubilee told me I should put it in someone’s stocking.
Another Christmas (and Thanksgiving) tradition is to do a puzzle together as a family. We open it in the morning and people drift to and away from the table at their leisure. BEN!’s brother, David, was with us this Thanksgiving and observed our tradition. He told us about the Wasgij? puzzles that are popular in New Zealand. With these puzzles, the puzzle isn’t the picture on the box, but the scene from another perspective.
David sent us one, which arrived on Christmas Eve. In our puzzle, the picture is of what happens next in the scene. It certainly makes the puzzle more challenging, but we are really enjoying putting it together.
Later today, Chuck’s family will be down to visit us. It is a Canadian holiday (Boxing Day) so we will have the house full of grandparents and cousins. My kids are beyond excited.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!
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