Traditions and “Dream Lists” are my favorite. I told my husband, Derek, once that I want our traditions to be something like a legacy for our children. I want our traditions to be stories that they share with their children. For our kids to look back when we are gone and be able to say things like, “Remember when Mom did that every year, that was fun.”
I hope our traditions become something they pass down to their families. I want them to be able to say, “My Mom and Dad used to do this with me and our family, and now we do it as a family.”
There is something so special about traditions. They feel like a transcending love note that connects us for generations.
Here is a breakdown of a few of the things on our Christmas Dream List. (There is a link below for you to be able to print your own Christmas Dream List.)
In 1 John 4:7 it says, “Let us love one another, for love is from God,” and this season we are in, it’s not about the gifts we receive. It’s about God’s love for us, for the world, and the beginning of his plan to rescue us.
And what a better way to show the world some love by checking off these things on your Christmas Dream List?
• Donate toys or adopt a child/family with a charity or church
• Buy coffee for the person behind you in line (I love doing this one, especially in the drive-thru.)
• Bless your Teachers
• Donate food to a local soup kitchen or shelter
• Fill your Sparkle Box (I will explain this one soon)
Write Stocking Love Notes
Sometimes it’s easier to buy someone coffee in line than it is to write a love note to you siblings. But do I even need to ask which act is more meaningful? So in our house I started a new tradition of Stocking Love Notes.
Every year each person in our family writes a love note for every individual in the house. There aren’t many guideline around this, it can be short or long.
There are only two requirements
- Everyone gets one, and
- It says more than “I love you.” …Ha!
These love notes, they aren’t a toy they will out grow. They are words of love that they can hold onto and go back to. This year, I’m going to buy a little box for each of them to store their notes in.
What a great treasure to have down the road when they are home sick or feeling lonely.
If a time comes when we cannot all be together for Christmas, because you know, life. Children grow up and move away. And, I hope over the distances the notes make their way into everyone’s stockings each year.
Last year, I encouraged the kids to think about a favorite memory they enjoyed doing with the recipient. Or to think about something they really loved about who that person is.
Of course our letters to each child are more lengthy than the kids’. It doesn’t matter; last year Adeline’s was about a sentence long with a drawing.
There are 5 of us in the family so it’s not something we do last minute. I try to write one a week starting right after Thanksgiving…
Also, it’s a great way to transition into Christmas from a place of thanksgiving.
Be in the Word with an Advent Bible Study
It is so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of Christmas. The advertisements, the traffic, the mall Santa Claus photos (which I love). It’s a lot. And it goes by so fast.
If we aren’t careful, we miss it. We miss the reason for all the celebration.
This year I ordered the She Reads Truth Advent Family Study for us. There are many great studies out there. I wish I could do them all.
Here are a few links to some different ones:
• A Jesus Christmas: Explore God’s Amazing Plan for Christmas (this is a great one to do as a family)
• She reads truth has studies for women, men, families and even some advent cards
• The Daily Grace has some beautiful resources and studies
• Home Front Magazine even has some free printable, organized verses for you to you.
Set out your Nativity
We have three! Of course…
One was passed down from my Granny. It’s wooden and beautifully carved. It sits on top of my bookshelf where it is safe from little hands. It’s something I treasure, and really love. It’s a piece of my childhood I get to enjoy every season.
Another is a Fisher Price Nativity. This one sits under the tree next to our 25 Christmas Countdown Books. I encourage the children to play with it. It’s wonderful to watch them sit and role play, usually about the Nativity Story… usually.
The Third is new and I’m excited to try it out with the kids. It’s called Star from Afar. My friend Brooke told me about this one. Every night you hide the star and when your children wake up in the morning, they search for it, like the Wise Men. And as the children find it, they place the Wise Men by it.
On Christmas morning you place the star over the nativity.
Years ago, we bought an Elf. You know those magical, pesky elves that Santa sends to watch over the kids?
Ours is named Jingles and he is knit together (so, not an Elf on the shelf), we found him at a little tea house the next town over. As we move closer to Jesus, we move further from Santa and Jiggles. This year, Jiggles is going to bring the Star From Afar as a gift when he arrives. And, instead of moving the elf each night, we will move the star.
Fill your Sparkle Box
The Sparkle Box is a tradition I adore and is always the first book we read in our 25 Books to Countdown to Christmas tradition.
“In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family’s good deeds. Sam’s parents explain that the things that they’ve been doing for others are, in fact, a gift for Jesus — for Jesus said that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him.”
Book comes with a Sparkle Box for you to put on your mantle and fill up with gifts that honor Jesus, on his birthday.
What I love most about this book is the way it sets your hearts and intentions on Jesus during the season.
Click the link to get your 25 Christmas Books List (If you click on the text of the list, it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase any of the books from the list, already organized you.)
I really hope you enjoy the Christmas Dream List I made. I would love to hear about your traditions around Christmas time.