Christmas time is here....and gone...yet the hope of the babe in the manger lives on every day for those who know the risen Christ.
Our Christmas season was full of fun. We did several of the fun holiday activities that the city of Memphis offers but our favorite was probably the Alpine Village at Trinity Baptist. The fact that it is indoors is a major plus!
This year we used our Ann Voskamp Jesse Tree devo again but threw in some children's bible stories to match the ornaments that were more on B's level. She also had her own tiny tree in her room with a nativity advent calendar ornaments. I think next year we may try Truth in the Tinsel.
Also this year we decided to not do any gifts. Since we don't do Santa this isn't a hard leap. We just explained to B that it is a celebration of Jesus' birthday so we give him gifts, and on her birthday she gets gifts. This child is spoiled throughout the year, so believe me she doesn't feel neglected or any such thing by not getting tons of gifts at Christmas. Our extended family still gave gifts, but we hope throughout the years they will redirect their giving more and more to birthday gifts.
On Christmas Eve morning we went with my husband's parents to visit people at King's Sons and Daughters nursing home. Two of Ben's grandparents have been there previously and his mom is still a rock star volunteer. We just went around and handed out cards B had made along with some treats and spread some Christmas cheer. B was a little timid around some of the people but overall she did great. I think this is a great tradition and maybe as the girls get bigger we can sing songs as we go from room to room. :) Christmas Eve evening we went to church and then to eat at Olive Garden (a tradition my family had for year). We came home and watched a veggie tales Christmas movie before putting B to bed. Then it was a late night of prepping for Jesus' birthday party.
We stayed up to make whole wheat cinnamon rolls and decorate with free printables I found. We did a "Happy Birthday Jesus" banner, balloons, "cupcake"/cinnamon roll toppers, and a hat for B. We also had to wrap presents for Jesus. We made a donation for each of us and then one in lieu of Christmas cards. This year we found so much joy in giving to the "least of these" in Jesus' honor. We donated to World Vision for ducks for a family and to help women and children in sex trafficking, also to a local ministry to teen moms, and some toys for the "sick kids" at Lebonheur. In lieu of Christmas cards we found a ministry called Planting with Purpose, a creation care ministry. I printed off pictures to symbolize all of these donations and wrapped them up in brown paper packages tied up with string. :) Brooklyn also had fun making ornaments for our family this year for her gift.
Christmas morning B came in our room to wait for sister to be ready then we all went into the living room together. We played while I finished breakfast and then we enjoyed our yummy treats, cinnamon rolls, quiche, and fruit salad. After breakfast we read the Christmas story and opened gifts for Jesus, then we watched Christmas movies and just relaxed until nap time. After nap we went to Ben's parents and enjoyed a yummy dinner there. Ben's mom is starting the "sparkle box" and her house. We write down what we do for the "least of these" during the Christmas season and put them in the sparkle box. On Christmas we open it and see what our family gave to Jesus for his birthday.
I really like the traditions we are creating. I almost feel like we had an advent activity overload, but there are just so many great advent devotionals and activities I had trouble just choosing one! In the future we may do gifts on New Years or Epiphany but this year we chose not to do any and we still had a great and joyful Christmas!