How We Celebrate Christmas | Lisa Jensen

by Melissa

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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! 


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 help you start your own meaningful family Christmas traditions. 

Meet: Lisa and the Jensen Family

Photo credit:  Instagram: @jamieheslopphoto  | Facebook: Jamie Heslop Photography  |#jamieheslopphotography

1. Tell us about your family!

Bryant & I have been married for just over 4 years now. We have 2 children, ages 3 & 18 months. Bryant is an accountant & I am a stay at home mom. We just became home owners this fall with the purchase of our almost-too-good-to-be-true dreamy 5 acre property in Utah, just north of Ogden.

2. Tell us a favorite memory of Christmas past!

L: Taking turns with siblings each year to turn on the Christmas tree lights on Christmas morning; visiting Temple Square in Salt Lake City, helping our Grandma deliver her hand-dipped chocolates. B: waking up early with brothers, going to grandparents’ place for a big Christmas morning breakfast with cousins

3. How do gifts work in your home?

Our children receive 3 gifts from Santa. (At least that is the goal). We will continue this tradition even as they get older, to simplify this aspect of the season. We hope we can focus on serving and giving more than shopping & getting.

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

Yes, my husband & I exchange gifts. It is sometimes hard, though, to think of exactly what that will be. Last year I don’t even remember what I bought him although I’m sure I did that, but I do remember spending hours making a CD full with fun Christmas songs he could listen to in the car on his commute throughout the season. I don’t always think of those kind of gifts in time–it definitely takes some planning, but those are the gifts I love most at Christmas time. Sibling gifts–whew! I don’t even want to go there! haha. We’re thinking we are about 2 years overdue on switching, with both sides of the family, to drawing names!

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

On Christmas Eve, we finish reading The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens if we haven’t finished it yet. We also read excerpts of the accounts of Jesus’ birth from the Bible and Book of Mormon. We sing some Christmas songs and have a family prayer. And we pick a spot on the couch to place our stocking.

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

I make “Sticky buns” on Christmas morning because that is something I loved that my mom did for us, growing up, every year. And I might note that Christmas morning was the ONLY time she made them, so that contributed to making it so special. We gather together before any one goes into the living room where the tree and presents all are. We have a family prayer, then we go and take turns opening up gifts. We make phone calls to family far away and visit other family later in the day or they visit us.

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

Sticky buns in a bundt pan every. year. Other recipes that come to mind include the original Original Betty Crocker candy cane cookies, caramels, and other treats. This year I started to learn how to make chocolates from my Grandma. (I’m not making any commitments to a great endeavor like what her’s has become, but I love trying new things and feeling the connection, so we will see where that goes in the future).

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

We love participating in #LightTheWorld .  We also listen to Bryant read The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens, usually in the evenings one or two nights a week throughout December. Also, when ever I am out and about, I am still on the hunt for a special nativity scene to display in our home. But for now our miniature Joseph and Mary on a donkey will do. And music! We can’t stand not to fill our home with Christmas music this time of year.

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

We have conclude that gift-giving induces the most stress for our little family, so we have tried to plan ahead. It doesn’t always happen ahead of time, but the sooner we think about it, the sooner we can accomplish our goals. My ideal is still to have a thoughtful handmade/homemade gift for everyone in the world who means something to us, but I realize it’s okay that I’m not there. ha.

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

Since closing on our house this fall, and assuming the expected and unexpected responsibilities that come with owning our own place, we find ourselves in a situation as never before, but it has brought us closer together. We have to think longer than a split second about the choices we make, we are grateful for what we have, and we could not be more delighted to share in the joy that our little ones bring into our home this season and always. I just want to bottle up our first Christmas in our new place. Perhaps it feels so special because it is more simple. Our expectations may have lowered a bit, but it certainly feels like we have raised the bar in hoping for many back-to-the-basics Christmas seasons to come.

You can follow Lisa at @PostalThreads on Instagram. Inspired by Home & Family, the Backyard, Play, Thrifted Fabric & Vintage Finds. PostalThreads began after sewing and sending fabric balloon balls to nieces and nephews for Valentine’s, one year.

Thanks so much Lisa for sharing with us!

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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