It's Christmas. And I am very sentimental traditionalist. We do many things to celebrate the season and to keep Jesus at the forefront of our activities. Here is a brief history of what we have done as a family to celebrate Jesus' birth.
*We of course, always have the advent calendars with chocolate inside. You each have one, so there isn't any arguing over who gets the candy. Parker, you usually find the number first, and then you help Kent locate his.
*Then we also have a flannel calendar, and you take turns moving the snowflake from day to day as Christmas approaches.
*We have added a new type of advent calendar to our line-up, and this one comes with coordinating stickers and a daily story from Luke about the birth of Jesus. I read this to you while you are eating breakfast each morning, and then you alternate who gets to place the stickers on the poster.
*Then each night, you select a Christmas story book from our collection, and we gather by the tree and enjoy.
*You each have a Christmas tree of your own that you get to decorate with your personal ornaments. Parker's tree is in your bedroom, and Kent's tree is in the office (because Kent loves to visit me there 1,0000 times a day while I am working).
*We of course decorate our family tree together. Daddy has a video on his blog at www.Erikscottberg.com that shows us Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. This year, you boys were interested for all of 20 seconds. As soon as I unwrapped the Star Trek ornaments, you were off to play "guys" with the ships.
*On the 23rd we sleep under the Christmas Tree in our sleeping bags, while we listen to carols, drink hot chocolate, and read Christmas stories.
*We try to watch several Holiday movies each year. Our standard line-up includes: Home Alone, Elf, The Grinch (Kent you are terrified of this movie), The Polar Express, White Christmas (you both detest this one), and Christmas Vacation.
*Christmas morning begins with each of you boys inviting i me, your Dad, and your brother to gather at your personal Christmas tree, and you get to hand out the presents that you bought or made for each member of our family. This again puts an emphasis on giving first, before you receive your presents under the big tree (got this idea from our friends the Hongs). You boys get so excited to "host" your gift giving time under your own tree.
*Of course then we read the Christmas Story before we dive in to the gifts, and we take turns telling the others about what Jesus means to us...although I can see you both fidgeting in frantic excitement.
*We always set up our manger scene early in December, but we take Jesus out of the manger, because he hasn't been born yet. There is great anticipation of the "coming" of Jesus to the manger. We wrap up baby Jesus in beautiful paper, and we put that package under the tree. On Christmas morning, He is the first present we open, and we place him in the manger and sing 'Away in a Manger". He is our best gift we have ever received, so we like to place an emphasis on Him Christmas morning.
*We also have a birthday cake for Jesus, or cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, and we light some candles and we sing Happy Birthday to our King ( I can see this tradition waning as you get a bit older, but for now, it's fun.)
I love all of these traditions, and I am trying to think of a way to preserve them i in the light of our new traveling lifestyle that the Holiday now entails. We may have to tweak our routine, but two things will be the same year in and year out: we will always be together, and the focus will always be on Jesus coming to Earth.