How We Celebrate Christmas | Lizzy Jensen

by Melissa
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Lizzy Jensen

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This post is part of the “How We Celebrate Christmas” — a mini series showing how other families “do” Christmas. I hope you enjoy learning from other families as much as I have!  

CelebrateChristmas

As always, this is not meant to stress us out of make us feel like we are doing Christmas wrong. Rather, my hope with this series is we can see that there are many RIGHT ways of celebrating. Hopefully some of these ideas will give you some great ideas as you start or adapt your own meaningful family Christmas traditions. 


Meet: Lizzy and the Jensen Family

Lizzy Jensen

1. Tell us about your family!

My husband Dave and I have 4 children, ages 5, 4 and 4, and 1. We live in Connecticut and though we’re not near any family we’re creating a life we love out there!

2. Tell us a favorite memory of Christmas past!

One of my favorite holiday traditions comes from the home of my childhood on Christmas Eve. Just after we’ve opened our new Christmas pajamas, and just before we’ve tucked in for the night, my dad would get out a medium sized wooden box, a box we all knew and loved well. He would pull out a little ring of keys, and after a little trial and error, find the one we used just once a year for the small golden lock on the front of the box.
As he creaked open the box, we would see the familiar little rolled up scrolls of paper, tied with random pieces of leftover holiday ribbon. Despite the unassuming wrapping, each scroll contained perhaps the most meaningful thing we did each year, our gift to the Savior. Each of us would take a piece of paper and write a letter to the Savior, with thoughts and feelings, and then always ending with a promise to Him of what we wanted to do to show our gratitude for His coming to earth for us. After we finished writing down our promises, our parents would let us open the scrolls from years past. In them we would find the scrawled penmanship of our childhood, decisions that had changed us, ad promises that reminded us of areas in which we could still change.
Now that I’m grown with young children of my own, I’ve started the tradition again. It is so meaningful for me to take a moment and reflect on the gift my Savior has given me in coming to earth, and think about what I want to do to give to him in the new year.
For me Christmas is the sparkling lights, the good food, and of course the family. But more than anything it is those moments when I feel the gratitude and wonder of that child born in Bethlehem, and with his birth the greatest promise, and the everlasting hope, that He gifted to us.

3. How do gifts work in your home?

We’re just starting in on the Santa phase, and so far we’re going with it, though we don’t emphasize him much. This December we’ve focused on trying to do a small act of service every day, to bring light to the world like the Baby Jesus did. Up to this point we’ve kept gifts minimal (last year it was avocados and bubble wrap that was the favorite so our kids to this point are pretty easy to please ha!), but this year we’re surprising them with a trip to Disneyland–I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they realize!!

4. If married, do you and your spouse exchange gifts? What about sibling gifts?

Again we really try to keep Christmas pretty simple. We love getting each other something small but I think are pretty boring in this aspect (maybe I need to start stepping it up ha!). For siblings in the past we always drew names and then had to make each other gifts. To this day some of those gifts are by far the most memorable!

5. What special Christmas Eve traditions does your family have?

See above!
 6. What special Christmas Morning traditions does your family have?

Christmas morning we would wait by the stairs, and had to sing a special song “Here we sit like frogs on a lilly pad” until my parents would come get us to come downstairs. Growing up in the sunny city of St. George then we loved going outside and playing and enjoying the sun. As we grew older we also loved to do a movie on Christmas evening.

7. Do you have any favorite holiday recipes that make an appearance each year?

We have recently been hooked on a recipe for Cranberry salsa over cream cheese with crackers (it looks so festive, but is still relatively healthy? 😉 Growing up my mom did a lot of German cooking, and one of my favorite recipes was her homeade monkey bread (like rolls but cutout and layered in a bundt pan!)

8. Do you have any Christ-centered Christmas traditions you want to share?

My favorite was our Christmas Eve tradition above!

9.  What are some ways you have simplified Christmas to keep stress lower?

This year I gave out only a few gifts to neighbors, and did it the last week of November. Christmas gifts are very simple, and focused on one thing my girls want (though my girls are very young and so far that’s been pretty easy!).

10. Any other favorite Christmas memories/ideas/tips you want to share? We love hearing how others make their season magical but not overwhelming!

More than anything for me to keep the season magical is to keep it simple, and try not to overthink it. I try to take no more than one day to do anything, and if it takes longer than that I don’t do it. For instance, I decorate in one day, and at the end of the day I decide enough is enough. Christmas shopping was the same, and neighbor presents too. I feel like if anything is going to take longer than a couple of hours then I’m probably making it more of a big deal than it needs to be. The greatest magic comes from the magic that is already inherent in the season–and I find that magic most easily when I spend time with my kids and with God. So for me any time spent reading Christmas stories, in the scriptures, talking with my girls or just spending time with them doing nothing is where I find the real magic!

You can find Lizzy over on instagram @lizzy.jensen, or on Youtube where she talks about living on purpose and finding your mission.


Thanks so much Lizzy!

Want more? You can find all the other “How We Celebrate” posts right here! There are so many real, good ideas you’ll love! 

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