Last week I wrote about traditions. This week I began thinking about how I want my children to remember not just Christmas but every holiday. A wise mom of three grown daughters once said that if someone were to walk into your home during any holiday would they know what you valued about that specific holiday? Which brings me to the question of ‘what do I value about Christmas and does that shine through in my traditions, actions, & decor?’ After lots of thought I realized they wouldn’t! So what do I value abut Christmas and how am I showing that to my children?
Our family believes that Jesus is the reason for the season. Celebrating His birth as God’s gift to humanity to save us from our sin is the message we want our kids growing up knowing as the real reason for celebrating Christmas. So in essence the value of Christmas to me is LOVE & SELF SACRIFICE. Looking at my traditions I realized that although fun there wasn’t a lot that taught the value of loving and sacrificing for others. Granted my son is only two and a half but I figured we could start small. So this year we added a new tradition offered by my husbands work. We signed up to purchase gifts for two foster boys the same age as my son (one even has the same name!). I took Little Man to help pick out the gift and even had him help wrap it. I plan to bring him to my husbands work and place it under the tree himself so he can learn the art of giving to others (a VERY hard lesson to teach a toddler when he thinks everything is his!).
I also wanted to be more intentional about the type of messaging my son was recieiving with regards to Christmas. If all he hears about and sees is Santa, reindeer, snowmen, and songs about bells how does that reinforce our values? We decided not to do Santa with our kids, who wants a fake guy in a red suit taking credit for presents you bought anyways!? So in an effort to combat all the media messages he’s getting elsewhere I purchased age appropriate books and DVDs that teach the values our family holds dear. I am also trying to teach him how to have a grateful heart by playing the thankful game. Every morning when we are driving in the car I ask him to tell me what he’s thankful to God for that day. Most of the time it ends up being trivial, like sheep, but sometimes he throws in a surprise like naming a friend or our house.
As I purveyed my boxes of Christmas decor I was a bit disappointed. The only thing remotely relating to what we valued about the holiday was a manger scene I place on the mantel every year. We also have a kids play manger scene for Little Man and at least he knows that baby Jesus goes in the bed of hay. I realized we needed some new decor to help us stay focused during this busy month. Possibly an advent calendar that we can do with Little Man every night and read a part of the Christmas story? Some friends have said they have a stocking for Jesus and throughout the month their kids write things they are thankful for and place them in the stocking. On Christmas Eve they read them all as a family. Haven’t totally figured out what to do with this one yet but I am open to suggestions!
What do you value about Christmas and how have you shown that to your kids?