the Cross in Christmas

This has been the best Christmas season that we have experienced in a long time.  I am not sure if being in the country is to thank for this, or the kids being a bit older, or me being a bit wiser (in how I handle the pressures & stresses), or what.  No matter the reason it has been really nice.

As the kids are getting older and we talk each day about what this season really means, I am seeing concepts take on deeper meaning and deeper roots in their lives.  The young ones still think a while lot about the gifts, but that is understandable when Grammie and Papa show up and suddenly there are presents under our tree!

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We just keep talking about how special this season is, but without looking ahead, without considering where this precious baby ends up, this celebration is really nothing.  I mean, without the cross, what does Christmas really mean?

So, amidst all these conversations we have been having lots of fun too.  We changed our tradition a little this year, normally the kids go out individually with Robert or I and they get to shop for gifts for their siblings, with THEIR own money.  This year, I read a blog of a smart mom who instead of taking her kids to the BIG stores to decide on a few gifts, she runs a Christmas Store.  I loved this idea and decided this is what we would do this year.  I bought about 4 gifts per child, priced about 2-5$ each.  Then I brought each child into my room where I set up an area with gifts for each child.  Then I let JB pick out a gift from those for his sister and 2 brothers.  Then he wrapped them and delivered them to the tree.  Next, I put away PJ’s left-0ver gifts and got out those for JB and let PJ shop.  When he was done, it was ED’s turn and finally when it was little AGs turn she was not left with too many options – but this was not a bad thing.  One, she did not care, two she did not know how many choices the others had.  This was so great for us!  It eliminated the child who really wants to spend, oh, say $20 per sibling and we are constantly saying “you do  not have enough for that” – it was great.  No one complained about not hitting the stores, or about the options.  This saved so much time, and was so much less stressful!  Next year I will start acquiring those gifts all year, and maybe have a few extras that we can use for birthday gifts in the future.  Anyway, this is a tradition that will stick around I think!

My in-laws just left this morning after spending the week here – and we had a blast!  I think the kids favorite part was going to Tyler to see a movie and have lunch.   I loved this time because I got to stay home and wrap gifts, finish PJ pants, and bake to my heart’s content.  I get to have time to myself often enough, but not in my home where I can get things I want to do, done.  So it was such a gift to me!  I cannot remember a time I had 7 hours to myself and did not have to worry about paying a sitter, or anything else!

So tomorrow is going to be a quiet day for us.  I think we have decided to not even have a BIG meal.  I think we are going to sprinkle some fun “snacks” throughout the day.  We are going to have some fondue with veggies, some cranberry tuna salad, and some homemade potato skins.  Sounds so unconventional to me as I type this, but I am looking forward to a day of simply being together.  No where to be (except the donut store in the early morning) and nothing we have to do (except open presents and play).

Tonight we will be at church for the Christmas Eve service, then we will be home waiting up for Robert when he gets home from work.  We have a new movie to watch while we wait.  Then we will open the ONE gift tonight (new homemade PJ pants) before they are off to bed.  AG is so excited, she has been telling me all day Santa is coming TONIGHT!!  It is fun to see their excitement.

 

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Praying for our friends and family everywhere that they will have a fabulous Christmas – and most importantly see the Cross this year in their Christmas Celebration!!

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