‘Tis the Season

The holidays make me emotional. I go back and forth between being SO excited and almost dreading it. Christmas is busy, it takes alot of effort, and for a perfectionist like me achieving a magical moment Christmas morning takes quite a bit of coordination.

At the tipping point of ensuing grinch-dom I usually realize why we’re doing this whole Christmas thing. It’s not about a perfect meal, unique gift, or joyous carols around the fireplace. Christmas is about remembering. It’s about remembering the gift God gave – His one and only Son.

As a new-ish mama I’ve realized what a sacrifice this is. It’s not a gift to be taken lightly, it’s a gift to embrace, celebrate, and share. Christ’s love is like no other and the gift of his life is priceless.

So, in between wrapping, baking, and meeting friends I wanted to take a moment to share some of the special traditions and holiday favorites we participate in each year!

  • The Nativity. After Dominic and I were married I bought a BEAUTIFUL nativity on after-Christmas sale. This year, my set is packed away in storage and this little set adorns our living room. It carries the same meaning, in a much less fragile fashion.
  • Christmas Eve. Every year we go to our church’s candlelight service to sing Christmas carols. When we get home we always have soup (I think it’s going to be White Bean Chicken Chili this year) and exchange gifts.
  • Gift Exchange. About 10 years ago, my family decided to tone down gifts. Rather than buy for everyone, we draw names and focus on finding a meaningful gift for that one person. It was my mom’s idea and her reasoning was this … Our birthday is about us and that’s when we celebrate with lots of special attention and gifts. Christmas is about Jesus’ birthday, we choose to focus on celebrating him during the Christmas season.
  • Giving to others. This differs each year, but we always find a way to serve others around Christmas as a family. We’ve served food at a shelter,  rang the Salvation Army bell, participated in Operation Christmas Child, and World Vision’s Gift Catalog.

And … a few other things to mention specifically about this year:

  • Jemma + Pressies = AWESOME! I can’t wait for Jemma to open presents! She is pretty obsessed with gift bags and boxes right now and I know she is going to have a blast helping everyone unwrap :)
  • Jemma + Santa = SADNESS! Last weekend, Jemma had her picture with Santa. I don’t have the real photo yet, but check out the one I snapped with my phone. Poor girl!
  • Secret Santa. We have a very special gift planned for my mom. This is outside of our gift exchange, because she has gone the extra mile with preparing for the holidays as long as I can remember and she deserves a little extra recognition. She’s going to love it and I can’t wait to share the details after Christmas!
  • Homemade Christmas. I’ve made almost all of my Christmas gifts this year and am quite impressed with my Homemade Christmas. More installments of this feature coming soon! I started most of these projects in November and am thinking about keeping this feature going all year to get a jump-start on Christmas 2012.
  • Would you give a little? Last, but not least we (as in all you readers and I) are shy $58 from meeting the goal of $105 to buy a sheep through World Vision as a goodwill Christmas gift. Would you consider donating a small amount towards this worthy cause?

What are your Christmas traditions? How do you make the holidays meaningful during all the hussle and bustle? I’d love to hear your ideas … especially for next year when I’ll have a 2 year old!!!

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