Monday, 21 December 2015

The Christmas Tree Letters

Only 4 more days until Christmas!!!

It's beautiful images like these that make me wish I had a DSLR camera.
(But yes, I did take this with a typical digital camera.)

This is our third Christmas together as a family and the second with Tevia.  This year things begin to get exciting with her.  We’ve only just started doing our own Christmas traditions.

Take a look a what we are doing this year:

It’s “Christmas” – NOT “Clausmas”

First, a note: we are not celebrating Santa Claus in our home.  None of our decorations represent Santa or his reindeer.  We only want to invite the true Spirit of Christmas, of Christ’s birth and all things beautiful and holy.

Yes, we will teach Tevia about Santa Claus – who he is based on (Saint Nicholas) – but we don’t want her believing that this man will magically bring gifts to her once a year.  I think that if this belief was encouraged, she would expect to receive gifts more than focusing on giving gifts to others. 

Presents under the Christmas tree
Nearly half of these gifts are from our Secret Santa!

The only “Santa” we will have is to be someone’s “Secret Santa” (and wear Santa hats if we wish).  In fact, we are recipients this year of some “Secret Santa!”  The doorbell rang late in the evening a few nights ago and Lucas opened the door to find some presents on the doormat.  I was so tempted to open them right then and there to see if they left their name(s), but Lucas took charge and won’t allow any gift opening before Christmas morning.

Secret Santa card and gifts
Who are you kind people?!

Family Christmas Fund

We would rather decide as a family what to budget for celebrating Christmas each year.  This year we decided to fill our stockings.  Maybe another year we can go on a trip or buy some special thing that the whole family could enjoy.  Ideally, the budget will grow as the family grows (assuming our income grows as well).

Tevia's duck stocking
My old duck stocking is now Tevia's stocking.

Christmas Tree Letters

A tradition we started last year is writing letters to each family member.  Lucas and I write to each other and to Tevia.  Once Tevia is old enough to read and write she’ll be able to write letters to us.  Until then, we are filing away the letters for her until she can read them herself.  We also hope to one year have our own personalized letter boxes to store these special letters.

Christmas tree with letters, stockings, and presents
With difficulty, the completed letters are placed on the tree.  Of course, the letters and stockings are hidden away for now because of Tevia's curiosity and enjoyment of destruction.

To close, I’d like to include the final paragraphs of each letter I wrote because I felt they were very fitting for all:
(To Lucas:)  “I am so happy to be able to spend Christmas this year with our lovely little family. I feel like this will be the most joyous one yet in our marriage. I can’t wait to open presents with our Little Lady. I love to admire the Christmas tree with her. I hope the traditions we are introducing (such as very little focus on Santa) will help her know what we are really celebrating: Christ’s birth and His gift of eternal life and exaltation. We will never be able to give any gift comparable to what He has given us. I think the best we can do is give of our love, kindness, and service, and spend quality time with family and dear friends.”
(To Tevia:)  “Remember that Christmas is about giving all of your heart and receiving with gratitude. Jesus Christ gave all of his heart for us when He atoned for our sins and died on the cross so that we can live with Him and Heavenly Father again when we die. Be grateful for this gift He has given to you and appreciate all that others do for you because of Him.”
Merry Christmas!!!

How did you see Christ in your life this year? star
(We have a star but it's too heavy for our tree.
So... we are using this star I got from church yesterday.)

What special Christmas traditions do you celebrate with your family?  Do you include Santa in your celebrations?  Why (not)?

Next week’s topic: [3 Questions To Ask Yourself When Setting Goals This Year]

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