Tag

christmas

Browsing

Light the World with Fun, Magical Christ Centered Christmas Traditions!

Wanna Light the World with the funnest, most magical Christmas this year? We’ll show you how with our Christ- Centered Christmas Traditions!

The truth is I still can’t believe it’s December 1 and we have been home in Canada for 7 months already. The time goes by so quickly and so much happens it’s hard to imagine that we are already getting ready to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is our families favourite time of year. As soon as December hits we go all out doing our best to Light the World and celebrate Christmas.

We don’t give presents to each other under the Christmas tree, but we do try our best to make each Christmas magical and unforgettable for the entire family!

Light the World with Magical Christmas Traditions
Click Here to send Shoe Boxes https://www.samaritanspurse.ca/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/
Christ-Centered Christmas Traditions
Download this to have an easy no fail Christmas Eve! www.nativityscript.com

This is link to the easiest Christmas Nativity that you will ever find! Makes your picture perfect Nativity every time, with almost no work for the mom! www.nativityscript.com

Christian Christmas Traditions
Magical Christian Christmas Traditions
Light the World Christmas Traditions
Jerusalem dinner Christ Centered Christmas Traditions
Christmas Service Scavenger Hunt
Christmas Service Scavenger hunt

Want to print out this whole list? Click Here: Christmas Blog

Click Here to Find out my Favorite Christ Centered Christmas Stories! Best Christmas Stories

Click Here to Find out my Favorite Christ Centered Christmas Music! Best Christmas Music

Wanna share your Christmas traditions with me? Drop me a line!

Creating Family Traditions That Will Last

As the mom of 7 kids I’ve learned that one of the best ways to keep your kids connected is through family traditions.

When creating family traditions I always try to do the following:

Make it Easy

There is nothing worse that thinking up a tradition that takes all day and night to prepare for and that you can’t recreate the next year. I’ve learned, just keep it simple! I remember one Jewish holiday that My sister persuaded me to celebrate. It involved making an elaborate feast and then waiting until midnight. At midnight you hiked around your property three times and then honked your horn (symbolizing something important, I’m sure). Afterwards you came inside and ate the feast. The problem we ran into was that nobody wanted to eat at midnight. So they all just sat there sleepily at the feast table looking like I was torturing them. That was definitely a tradition we didn’t keep around!

Create Them Around Holidays

Many of our favorite traditions are created around holidays such as Christmas time, Easter & Valentines day. The reason I do this is because no matter what I know that my kids will never let me forget a holiday, so in a way it forces me to do the extra work required to create a memory that will last forever.

Adopt Traditions From Other Cultures or Religions

If you can’t think of your own family traditions, don’t be afraid to celebrate someone else’s! This is a list of some of my favorite traditions and how we celebrate them:

  • Easter- My favorite Holiday ever is celebrated by putting up an Easter Tree, Planting an Easter Garden, Darkening the Windows on Good Friday, Passover Meal, And doing Easter devotionals the week leading up to Easter
  • St. Patricks Day- The kids make leprechaun traps. But they rarely catch the leprechaun, instead he comes through the house and does silly things like put chairs on top of the table, or dyes the milk green. Of course he also leaves some treats for the kids in the traps.
  • Valentines Day- When my kids wake up there is always curly ribbons hanging from the ceiling with a sweet little basket for each child and love notes from dad and I that are in their basket.
  • Summertime- Summer Dances
  • First Snowfall of winter- We ALWAYS make snow candy with caramel poured into the snow and cancel all school plans so the kids can play all day in the snow
  • Shavuot- Jewish Holiday where you stay up all night and eat cheesecake and read scriptures
  • Ukrainian Christmas- This holiday is celebrated by making perogies together and eating a feast
  • Saint Nicholas Day– German Holiday on December 6 where all the children put out their boots and St. Nicholas comes and fills up their boots with candy and nuts
  • Christmas Eve- I could write a whole post about this
  • Christmas Day- We have a service scavenger hunt where we do acts of service for people around town. My kids love it. We also have a feast, make a birthday cake for Jesus, and have a silly string war.
  • New Years Eve– Have a big party
  • New Years Day– we make a list of everything all of us have learned all that year, or any new experience that we had. We keep these for our family journal and read them throughout the years. This has proved to be a priceless keepsake!
  • The Day we Moved onto our Land– we always celebrate this with a neighborhood softball game
  • Cold Days- For us cold days means that we have to make cinnamon buns. In the case of this picture we were living on a tropical island and there were no cold days, so excuse the anomaly!
  • Sunday Singing- Many, many sundays our family goes to old folks homes and sing to them. We also sing to our neighbors or to people who are sick or sad in our community.
  • Sunflower Sunday- Once a year the fields surrounding our house bust into vibrant colors of yellow, orange and green. We call it ‘Sunflower Sunday’ This magnificent display lasts for only a few days. The whole neighbourhood gets together and here’s what happens!
  • Apple Cider Party– More about this later
  • Thanksgiving- Big feast with friends and family

Learn the Meaning Behind the Traditions

One of my favorite things to do is to teach my kids what meaning each tradition has. This gives them a greater depth of understanding for other cultures and religions. This is one of the best ways to learn about other people!

Create Traditions Around Your Family History or Family Stories

One of the BEST ways to bind children together and to their past is through sharing stories and traditions that are past down from their ancestors. Is it making bread from yeast you caught yourself, or making soap once a year? Whatever it is as you celebrate that day, be sure to share lots of stories to help make it more meaningful.

Don’t be Afraid to Get Rid of Traditions that aren’t working for your family

I often try something and then get rid of it because it didn’t have the intended effect. Plus as your family grows your traditions will also need to grow!

Create Traditions That Include Other People

Every summertime we invite 100’s of people over to join us for outdoor family dances. It has created so many precious memories for my kids.

Every October, our neighbor has the neighborhood over for a fireroast and chili in the snow.

Every Christmas another neighbor invites everyone over for a star gazing and hot chocolate party

Every Boxing day a close family friend books the local church gym and invites everyone she knows for a potluck and party

Every Fall my brother gets out his apple press and all of our families and friends go to his house where we make freshly pressed apple juice and have a potluck dinner together.

Okay…so just to remind you!

So…what are YOUR favorite family traditions that will last? Leave us a comment

xoxo
BeckyBoo

P.S. Here is a video of one of my favorite family traditions.

 

Christmas In Paradise

Christmas in Paradise brought feelings I wasn’t expecting. 

I stared outside the kitchen window as I washed the dishes for the millionth time. It was so hard being away from home for Christmas. I could picture one of the hundred crackling fires that we would enjoy in our living room back home, with christmas music in the background and with the smell of hot apple cider in the air. I dressed up the little boys with tinsel and Christmas lights and that helped a little. 

I imagined looking outside and seeing my neighbours chasing each other with snowballs and working together as they tried to push someones car out of the huge drifts that built up during Canadian winters. I could almost hear the excited chatter of a billion kids as they built another igloo or piled onto sleds and with a cup of hot chocolate gripped tightly in their hands got ready for another run down the hill.

Everything you imagine Christmas to be, and we were experiencing the opposite.

There was no hot water in the kitchen, but that really didn’t matter when every day was sweltering hot and the cool water from the tap was a welcome relief from the heat. I picked up another dish and after washing it, placed it carefully in the dish drainer.

My thoughts turned from Christmas to the hard work of being a mom. I was just getting ready to calculate how many sinkfuls of dishes I had done in our 18 years of marriage when a stiff breeze blew in outside and as if by some Christmas magic snow began falling down gently like angels feathers from the sky. My heart nearly stopped as I squealed out in excitement. “Girls it’s snowing!”

Silence instantly fell over the normally noisy house as kids ran to the windows, and house girls stopped mid work to follow my gaze.  The chances of snow in the middle of December (the hottest month of the year here) on a tropical island are quite slim (impossible), but somehow here we were and it was snowing! I held my breath in as much disbelief and excitement as fills every childs heart at Christmas time. I didn’t have to hold it for very long, before the sounds of everyone laughing at me filled the kitchen walls to nearly bursting. In the place of sparkling icy snowflakes, was hundreds of little tropical leaves falling from the sky in the wind, twirly as they fluttered down to their resting place on the ground.

Sigh… I must really be getting homesick.

I thought back to the funniest conversation that I had overheard between the children just yesterday. They were sitting in the back of a hot truck with sweat pouring down their faces. Eliza looked at the younger kids and said, “Just imagine that we are at home, and that dad went out in the freezing cold blizzard just to warm up the vehicle for us. Now we are getting inside, doesn’t it feel so great to be warm.?” I smiled at their imaginary game, but inside it was hard. It’s hard being away from home at Christmas time. For the first time in 17 years I was without my oldest daughter, had no sisters or brothers (they had long since gone home after their initial visit several months ago) and we were alone. Even our closest neighbours had left to Australia to be home for Christmas.

And now the snow. Not only is there no snow here, there isn’t really seasons here either. The locals told us that there were seasons, the wet season and the dry season. They were right! With the wet season came mosquitoes and tropical diseases such as malaria, & dengue. Plus the wet season also brought on the cyclones. The dry season brought cooler weather and more fun outside for everyone. We were in the wet season.

I knew I would get lonely at Christmas time, I just didn’t imagine it would be this lonely. I put my whole heart into trying to make it the same as it was at home. I invited people over to decorate gingerbread houses- that was a first for everyone who came, and we had so much fun together doing it. But the icing wouldn’t hold and the moisture in the air made everything collapse by morning. 

I served hot chocolate -nobody here had even tasted hot chocolate before and it really isn’t the same drinking hot chocolate when you are cold as it is to drink it when you are hot! I invited kids over and and read Christmas stories during our devotionals every night in December. I did every thing I could think of to make it the same, but nothing was the same. The decorations all fell down because none of the glue would hold, and the tree was sparse and bare.

I think it’s finally starting to settle in that I’m alone and I really am missing home more than I have since we came here.

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree

Hundreds of trees of every shade of green surrounded our little home on the beach. The giant nabunga tree was visited daily by children climbing it or hunting the cobra constrictor snakes that lay hiding inside. The palms were overloaded with coconuts that we used for our meals. Mangos dropped by the dozens each day from the mango tree and were gathered up by kids, neighbours and friends who filled their bags to overflowing with the tasty treats.  The avocado tree provided more avocados than you could imagine eating and the papaya trees, banana trees and lemon trees all contributed their small part to the family dinner table as well.

The trees were so beautiful, each one different and each one doing their part for the community. I sat outside on the deck swing looking over towards the edge of the yard. This wasn’t the first time I had noticed the towering tree whose canopy of dead branch spread out into the sky and overtop of the road and swimming pool. In fact several times throughout the year I had wondered about it.

Several months ago we had hired a master tree cutter to remove all the dead and dying trees to protect us from dangerous flying branches during the upcoming cyclone season. I had laughed thinking about just what a fool the so called expert was that he could be hired to do a job and miss something so obvious as that large tree I was now staring at. 

In November I discovered that it was I who was the fool. I woke up to the birds singing loudly outside one morning and when I peeked through the bedroom window I  beheld to my amazement that the whole world was covered in a sea of bright red blossoms. That big tree that I had resented for taking up so much space in our yard wasn’t dead at all! In fact it was more alive and vibrant than any tree around. I couldn’t believe that all this time, I had been wrong.

When I asked the local villagers the name of this glorious tree that had just come alive in my garden, they said it was called the “Christmas Tree”. All year it just simply waited. Waited for it’s time to bloom. And while I secretly criticised it for it’s empty bare branches, it knew all along that it was something much more.  Then, just when we were getting ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior the tree amazed us with it’s magnificent display of colour. Each day the thousands of vibrant red petals falling from the top of the high, high, tree and cover the world with a fresh coat of colour.

I bent down and picked up the delicate, rich blossom studying the black and yellow and red so intricately woven into the shape and colors of a flower.

“Remember the worth of a soul is great in the sight of God” the scriptures were trying to teach me again.

I thought back to all the times I had felt discouraged, downtrodden, and useless. My physical limitations preventing me from doing so many things I wanted to do, or my financial situation making me unable to give as much as I wanted to give, or endless nights awake with crying babies creating a hazy dissatisfaction with my role as mother during the day.

When all the earth trusts, and obeys God so completely, why am I so impatient and filled with doubt?

I looked down at the flower in my hand again, but this time noticed the dirt on my hands. I didn’t even remember how it had gotten it there, but now the camera was put away and there it was. Sigh…it always comes back to Jesus doesn’t it?

For without Jesus there would be no atonement, and with the atonement each of us would be so burdened with unresolved Sin that we could never return to live with God again.


I am learning that like the Christmas tree, sometimes we must trust God and wait.  It takes faith, and patience but I am guessing that if it’s anything like what is happening outside my front door, dirt and all, the results can be breathtaking, glorious and better than anything we could have imagined!

Beckyboo
P.S. I’d love it if you’d share a personal experience of when you waited on God 🙂