I thought about what to share this month, the song “My Favorite
Things”, from the Sound of Music, came to mind and that lead me to
share a few of my favorite things during the Christmas season.
giving thanks to God for all He has provided (His son, family and
friends) and eating all the traditional food groups (Fried turkey,
holiday sweet potatoes, cornbread dressing, and desserts galore), we
tore down our thanksgiving decorations with much vigor, boxed them to
put back in the attic and then pulled half of the boxes from the
attic downstairs to begin the annual ritual of preparing our home for
the Christmas season.
What makes a Christmas tree extra special? Ornaments! Over the years
we’ve purchased 1-2 meaningful ornaments for the girls and
ourselves. We each have our own box of ornaments to decorate the
tree. Ornaments reflect our hobbies such as running, biking,
photography, art, piano, etc. There are ornaments that remind us of
important milestones from our marriage, the birth of our daughters,
our 25th anniversary, daughters turning 21, giving up a pacifier,
orthodontic turnkeys, high school and college graduations, etc. Then
there are the ornaments that show the places we have traveled to all
over the globe. Decorating our tree is a wonderful time of
Advent means “coming.” This is a time to remember Christ’s
birth as well as time to remember and prepare for Christ’s second
coming. We have used various devotional books over the years
depending on our children’s ages that focus on the wonderful gift
of salvation while giving Christmas significance amid all the hustle
and bustle. Below are few of our favorites.
- There are
12 non-breakable ornaments each highlighting a significant name of
Jesus which remind children who they worship at Christmas and why.
Each ornament has a picture accompanied by the name of Jesus and
- These books written for children 8+ are about children growing up
during the time of Christ’s birth. We read these books aloud. Each
daily reading is about 20 minutes long and usually ends in a
cliffhanger for the next night. The chapter also ends with a Bible
verse and a short devotional.
nativity scene represents the birth of Jesus Christ, who came to save
humankind from sin. We began collecting the Fontanini
nativity figurines, as they are non-breakable so my girls would act
out the Christmas story using the various pieces.
mom gave us “The
Vatican Nativity Collection” by Franklin Mint, which is made of
beautiful porcelain and is breakable.
traveling we came across two wooden nativities that we bought for the
Two of my favorite homemade crafts were when Cayley was five she drew
the cutest nativity picture so we used it as our family Christmas
card. When flannel boards were the “in thing,” my older girls and
I made a felt manger set that they used for years to tell the
Christmas story. Other fun homemade gifts have included scented
soap, candles, wreaths, and ornaments.
this should never be the focus of Christmas, sadly for many, it can
be. One of the best ways to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas
is to find ways to practice the mantra “it’s better to give than
receive.” While opening gifts on Christmas Eve, we give the gift of
words. These are usually words of encouragement, blessing, and
appreciation to the gift giver which is meaningful and lasts longer.
& Gathering: A
tradition is usually associated by the words, “We always [fill in
the blank]”. When Caryn called home asking for the holiday sweet
potato recipe to share at her Thanksgiving gathering, I knew it was a
tradition because we always serve them for Thanksgiving and
Christmas. Below is the recipe, enjoy.
together ½ cup butter and 6 cooked sweet potatoes. Add 1tsp baking
power, 1tsp vanilla, 2tsp cinnamon, 2 beat eggs, ¾ cup sugar, ¾ cup
buttermilk. Blend all together with mixer. If you desire add ¾ cup
pecans. Put into a greased 2 quart casserole dish and bake 350 for 30
minutes. Top with marshmallows during last 10 minutes of cooking.
Remembrances: Call me sentimental but l enjoy recording how we spend Christmas. Each year we do our best to take a family Christmas photo and write a Werner update to share with family and friends. Shortly after the girls were born I found a family Christmas Journal to chronicle all the yearly details of our past Christmases.
throughout the year
thank-you notes is almost a lost art
I always include them in our children’s stockings. After all, we’ve
just spent the last two months preparing our hearts to love, be
appreciative and thankful.
are just a few of my favorite things during the Christmas season. All
of them help remind me of our need for a Savior. What are some of
your favorite things?