I wrote HERE about some holiday traditions I do or want to do with my family last year. Recently, I have seen that there can be a lot of pressure to uphold these traditions and I attribute a lot of it to comparing myself to what others are doing. In my attempts to make sure my kids have the best holiday experience I can easily lose hold of the entire reason why a tradition is special and memorable. With our third baby boy on the way I am learning that traditions, especially Christmas ones need to be flexible. Each year brings new challenges and in order to keep sanity you just need to go with the flow rather than stress about every little detail.
Each year I pin all of these beautiful ways to decorate Christmas gifts and each year I make myself feel bad that I ended up using some random wrapping paper and bows from our wrapping drawer. I let the pressure of the season get in the way of the whole meaning behind the gift I am giving. I am seeing now that the traditions I have in my head may be fun for me but they might not be ideal for my whole family. So keeping my family in mind this year we are keeping it simple and yet still trying to keep up with the fun traditions we all enjoy.
I write to encourage you that some years you might have a newborn, some years you might have gone through a death, and some years are just busy. Uphold and keep the traditions that bring your family together.
Some things we did for Christmas traditions this year:
- Decorate the tree and put Christmas lights outside the day before Thanksgiving
- Visit our local train museum for a Christmas festival
- Christmas PJ's (I ordered $8 red striped fire truck jammies from Old Navy and called them Christmas ones)
- Make Christmas cookies with my mom, sisters, and kids (Nick is our taste tester)
- Drive around town with the kids in our comfy clothes looking for Christmas lights
- Made boxes for Operation Christmas Child
- Read from our advent book and eat our advent calendar chocolates each night
- Send out Christmas cards
This may seem like a lot but all of the traditions we did above were things the whole family got involved with and enjoyed. Our pictures are not all Instagram-worthy and our tree is missing a new ornament each day (thank you Max) but our kids are learning more and more about the true meaning of Christmas every year. Calvin has learned that Advent is a season of waiting and anticipation. They are slowly understanding that because of the birth of Christ we have forgiveness of sins are made right before God.
We are also starting a new tradition of having only immediate family over on Christmas Eve and keeping it super low key (Christmas pajamas, wine, food, games, etc.) and then on Christmas Day we are inviting people over for some Christmas fun. Our little family continues to grow so even a small simple night has been seeming to get bigger and bigger. My sisters and I each help out with a task so that the load for my mom is less of a burden and we can all enjoy just spending time together.
*Nick preached a great sermon on Advent HERE
*Why we don't do Santa HERE
I would love to hear of some ways you keep Christmas traditions meaningful, yet simple. A tradition is only special when it brings joy, not stress.