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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 or 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: Andrea and the Nelson Family
1. Tell us about your family!
2. Tell us a favorite memory of Christmas past!
I will never forget the Christmas I was 9. My Primary Teacher was in a singing group and my parents took me to her concert in Salt Lake City. It was a pretty big deal being one of 6 kids to ever get to go anywhere alone with my parents, and I can still remember walking the streets of Salt Lake feeling like a million bucks to be taken on such a special outing. The concert was in a very ornate, old, Church and I remember being enamored with the gargoyles and stained glass windows. My Primary Teacher sang beautifully and it was such a treat to know someone “famous” personally. My teacher’s singing partner wrote the music and I loved it then, but little did I know that 23 years later and I would end up living in the very area she was from and that many of her songs reference. So I still listen to the Christmas CD from that concert, but it holds even more meaning now that I live “home in the hills of West Pennsylvania.” If you want a great new Christmas CD to add to your collection look up “Sleepy Little Town” by Cory Connors. You won’t regret it!
3. How do gifts work in your home?
4. If married, do you and your spouse exchange gifts? What about sibling gifts?
5. What special Christmas Eve traditions does your family have?
6. What special Christmas Morning traditions does your family have?
7. Do you have any favorite holiday recipes that make an appearance each year?
I love love LOVE toffee, but so far I stink at making it, so maybe this year will be the first time I really pull it off. We can’t resist making up a few batches of fudge. Me and my oldest son share an affinity for mint fudge, but we have to make the classic milk chocolate with nuts too. And our Christmas Morning Sticky Buns is a must. You put it all together the night before using frozen roll dough and wake to it risen and ready to cook in the morning. Can’t beat that! Here’s a similar recipe…http://www.
8. Do you have any Christ-centered Christmas traditions you want to share?
We love all things Santa, but he definitely takes a back seat to what matters most. Years ago I made wooden star ornaments with all the names of Christ from the scriptures on each one. The boys love to look at all the different names He goes by and ask why He got each one. We read a countdown scripture for every night in December that is a story from the Bible about the Savior, and then we discuss the attributes of Christ that the story shows. We also have a manger we work on filling with hay for any service we do all month to be ready for the arrival of baby Jesus on Christmas morning. I wrote about that tradition on SoFestive.com years ago. Check it out the Hay in a Manger tradition. It’s a good one!
9. What are some ways you have simplified Christmas to keep stress lower?
I’ve learned that no matter what you do Christmas can always get crazy if you let it. I do my Christmas shopping all year round to help alleviate some of the stress in December, not to mention the financial stress. It’s lots easier to afford Christmas when it’s been spread out over the whole year. If I see a good deal on something I know one of my kids will love I grab it whether it’s May, August, or December! I also try not to put too much pressure on myself to “do it all.” We love making gingerbread houses every year, but one year I had a new baby and it just wasn’t gonna make the list that year, but rather than beat myself up about missing a beloved tradition I gave myself a pass that year and it relieved a lot of stress. And believe it or not, no one else even seemed to notice because we still did plenty of other fun things. Do your best to do what you can and it will be memorable even if you don’t fit every tiny thing in.
10. Any other favorite Christmas memories/ideas/tips you want to share? We love hearing how others make their season magical but not overwhelming!
Andrea occasionally shares fun ideas for kids here at SoFestive. You can see the fun So Festive! for kids ideas here.
Thanks so much Andrea for sharing!
Want more? You can find all the other “How We Celebrate” posts right here! There are so many real, good ideas you’ll love!