Last week I had the opportunity to speak at my old MOPS group. It has been a year and a half since I was involved with this group. It warmed my heart to see so many new faces. Many of the women whom I was in MOPS with have transitioned to a new season of life like I have. To see the group strong and growing is so wonderful!
I was asked to come share my holiday traditions. Because the group now consists of mothers who are just starting their families, I decided to share my tips for establishing Christmas Traditions. Of course I wouldn’t want to leave you out! So here you go!
1- Don’t Take Yourself too Seriously. It is never going to turn out the way you expect. When I first became a parent I was determined that my daughter would know that Christmas was about Christ. So I did what we did growing up…I insisted on reading Luke 2 before we opened presents. I don’t know what I was thinking! There were all these presents that magically showed up in the middle of the night, and I had to physically retrain my daughter while I stubbornly read from the children’s Bible. I was crazy to think that an eleven-month-old would have enough self-control to refrain from digging into those beautiful packages.
Let’s not mention the Christmas card…
For the sake of keeping it real, here is my last Christmas Card…
2-Give Yourself Some Grace and Time to Establish Your Traditions. Traditions by nature are established over time. The things that work one year may not work the next. As you experiment, you will weed out the ideas that don’t work and perfect the ones that do. One year we has a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” party. That was great for a group of three-year-olds. It’s not something I want to do every year.
3- Be Willing to Say NO! Do not over commit during this season. Figure out what your limits are, and stick with it. One could easily get bogged down with all the parties, cookie exchanges, parades, etc. and not have anything left for your family.
4-Make it Fun! You are preparing for the biggest party ever. When your children are young, birthday parties are the BEST. THING. EVER! My family waits for Christmas day by making memories. Everyday we do something different. We bake, shop for the Angel Tree, watch a movie, go look at the lights at the square…these things all lead up to the big day! (For a more complete list of our ideas click here.)
5-As Your Children Mature Your Traditions Will Mature. This is huge! In the early years I thought I had to make it strictly spiritual. I struggled with the concept of Santa. But once I started telling my daughter that Santa was Jesus’s mascot, I was hit with a realization. Just as children someday grow up and realize that the main event at the ballgame is not the mascot, my children will grow up in their faith too. We went from reading simple daily verses to now reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible. They will mature.
6-Slow Down! I consider this my most important tip…Don’t busy yourself with all the details that you miss the wonder of the coming of Christ. You have the ability to set the standard in your home for how your family observes the season. Let your children see you reading the tougher, deeper Advent readings…Not only for the sake of your kids, but for your sake. He came for YOU! God is all of His glory came to Earth to dwell among us. He broke through time and space to come near. His name is Emmanuel…God With Us. Don’t let the season pass you by without reflecting…marvel in that wonderful truth.
I am no real expert, so I am hoping that some of you will be able to share an idea or two as well. Feel free to comment below!
P.S. My friend, Gretchen, without me knowing, recorded my entire presentation. If you listen, please be gracious. I am not a professional speaker! LOL. And it does not have the best audio quality. Click below to listen.
See below for some more of my Christmas posts and resources: