The Season can be busy and full of good intentions. Make memories this Christmas season with four fun traditions to help you make memories that last.
guest post by Amy Wiebe
Beauty in the Mess is such a great picture of what December looks like at our house. I love Christmas, and I love traditions. But I also love my sanity. The thing with traditions is you have to keep doing them. That’s what makes them traditions. Such stress if you don’t lay a blanket of grace on top.
My kids are 9, 7 and 4, and they are starting to know and remember the traditions I did long before they would remember. I’m also a full-time Finance Director and a church planter (along with my husband). You can imagine that December is not even close to my quietest month. Sometimes, December even frightens me a little bit. But then, I make a plan. And layer in loads of grace into the plan.
Here are four ways to make memories this Christmas season that will last.
4 Ways to Make Memories This Christmas
1. Advent Calendar
Our most important tradition to me is our Acts of Kindness advent calendar. Essentially, it’s a calendar with various ideas for small acts of kindness we perform for others as a family. But here’s the thing: If we miss a day, or two days, or three days, IT WILL ALL BE OKAY. Also, if I see what’s scheduled for today and I know it’s too much effort for what my day holds, we may pick a simpler act of kindness. Grace upon grace upon grace. One of our favorites is getting hot chocolate for the Salvation Army bell ringers. We live in Denver, so it is often very cold out in December. One man I remember seemed so surprised and grateful when my (cute) kids brought him the drink. Such a simple way to brighten someone’s day.
2. Christmas Devotionals
My next favorite tradition is our Meaningful Christmas devotionals. Some friends of mine wrote a lovely advent devotional. This devotional goes beyond the Christmas story to a more complete story of Christ. They even combined it with a precious ornament theme for each day. For a small group activity, you can get 24 women together who are willing to create one of the ornaments 24 times, and then you have this fun exchange party where you end up with one ornament for each of the 24 days of advent. We try to do the devotionals each night before bed (or sometimes we skip and double up later). The kids take turns putting the ornaments on our smaller tree saved especially for this purpose. The kids ask the most fun questions each year with these. Each year they understand more, and it’s our favorite way to keep our focus directly on Jesus.
3. Elf on the Shelf
Then, because we are apparently crazy, we are one of the millions who do Elf on the Shelf. I created my own Elf on the Shelf Calendar for Underachievers here. I keep the Elf shenanigans to a bare minimum during the week and try to keep the creative stuff for the weekends. And it’s many a night when we forget and try to move “Peter” first thing in the morning before the kids notice. The kids’ favorite is when we turn the milk green. (And last year, we mixed it up and turned it blue and had blue waffles. Gross, right?) But they love it and often check the fridge for Peter first.
4. Christmas Wish Lists
I’ll leave you with one last tradition. We have our kids make Christmas lists, but we ask them to list only 4 items as follows:
- Something you want
- Something you need
- Something you wear
- Something you read
This is just one other way to keep them from getting carried away with ridiculous lists of all the things they want. It has been a great way to keep them focused outward.
What do you do to focus your family on Jesus and on loving others during this season? Are you able to give yourself grace upon grace if you don’t execute them perfectly? What are the ways you will make memories this Christmas season?
Amy is a Jesus follower, mom of three, wife of one, church planter, Finance Director, and lover of sarcasm and deep conversation with friends. She also loves camping, rafting, skiing, sewing, and having people over to her home.