Creating Family Christmas Traditions

by

Tony Bennett singing “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” as the background for this blog post.

Every Filipino family follow Christmas traditions that were passed on from one generation to the next. We may have practices that are similar to others like the kids decorating the Christmas tree or the Mom wrapping Christmas presents. But each family has their unique way of welcoming the birth of our Savior.

I have shared briefly how my family prepared and celebrated Christmas when I was young. Now that I am a mother, I have the resolve to start a new tradition in the next few weeks. Thank you to Teacher Lorrie of Cuki Confections who have sparked the interests of the ladies who attended the Creative Christmas Planning Workshop last November 14.

Teacher Lorrie taught about the importance of creating family traditions during Christmas. Traditions bring us closer to one another. We have that sense of belonging because of the same values and experiences. Traditions also remind us of our growth as individuals and as a family.

IMG_1348

PicMonkey Collage1

Sharoll talking about how they celebrate Christmas with her three kids and Chame sharing a non-Filipino Christmas meal she has learned to love because of her British husband

I realized there are a lot of Christmas traditions we can do with our families but I’m only sharing some from Teacher Lorrie’s talk. These traditions wouldn’t be as meaningful as we want them to be unless we change our perspective about the real reason for the season.

Advent traditions are the practices we do to welcome Christ in our homes. How do we prepare for the birthday of Jesus Christ? We can do lighting of the Advent wreath which starts on the 4th Sunday before Christmas. The Women Living Well Ministries has a Free Advent Study you can download. I’m seriously considering this for the kids this year.

You can also create your own prayer tree, prayer calendar or prayer bunting. Think of people you want to pray for starting December 1 to 25. Assign one name each day and hang them on your prayer tree or bunting or write them down on your prayer calendar. Commit to pray for these individuals every day with your family.

Tree Trimming traditions involve hanging handmade ornaments with the kids. We were unable to create ornaments during the workshop because we lacked time so we will do this on November 28 plus some gift wrapping ideas too. ( We might open this crafting session to others also so watch out for the announcement)

Teacher Lorrie brought with her some of the ornaments that she and her kids made through the years. Would you believe she has kept those up to this time? They were unique and made from inexpensive materials like an old music sheet. One thing she shared was that she makes one ornament for each of her daughters every year. She keeps them and when the time comes for them to have their own families, she will be handing them those ornaments to be shared with their new families… Isn’t that an awwww moment!

Possibilities for materials are endless: old magazines or book pages to have that vintage kind of feel to the decors. You just have to let those creative juices flow. The goal is not to have perfect trimmings but to create memories of crafting them with the kids.

ornaments

One fun thing you can do on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, is to sing Christmas carols with the family or go out and see the lights in your neighborhood. You can also watch Christmas movies together right before Christmas dinner. Simple ways create an impact to our children. I am reminded of the movie my family used to watch when my brother and I were younger. I couldn’t remember so I just Googled it and found this.

How about starting a Christmas Photo Album or Christmas scrapbook? Compile photos taken during the holidays and create a scrapbook or an album exclusively for the season. It’s fun to look back at how the kids have grown and the people your family spent time with over the years. You can also include writings or journal entries from the kids in the album. Ask every member of the family to write their own gratitude list too.

People tend to be generous during the holidays. As a family, you can share your blessings to other people especially those people who have helped you throughout the year. It may be your household help, the guard/s in your subdivision, condo, church or office, the maintenance team, those people whom we encounter almost every day yet often neglected. Say thank you by sharing a snack, food  basket or anything simple to show your appreciation for the work they do to make your life easier, safer and cleaner 🙂

buffet

For the younger kids, nieces and nephews, gear them up for a Happy Birthday Jesus Party. Instead of teaching them to wait for Santa, why not instill in their young minds the love for Jesus and pointing to Him as true reason for the season. Check out this post on how to prepare a Happy Birthday Jesus Party.

Aside from the Christmas traditions, Teacher Lorrie also showed us inexpensive ways to spruce up your dinner table. The items she used to decorate the table were items she had for years while some were bought on sale. Rarely does she purchase new items but she has learned to recycle and reuse whatever she has at home. We both support frugal living so buying new Christmas decors is the least option.

IMG_1366

A rustic setting adorned with simple white roses. Check out the color coordination of the napkin and the placemats.

IMG_2694

I love this red themed table setting. The cake pedestal was used as stand for the Christmas trim. The broken teapot served as a vase for those pretty roses

PicMonkey Collage

Jo and Tess enjoying the “chatting with Tita” feel of the workshop

Let’s not lose sight of why we celebrate Christmas. As Teacher Lorrie mentioned at the workshop, “Jesus is the reason for the season”. Is that true for you? Is he really the reason for your Christmas season?

IMG_2706

Jesus was not born to be cuddled and adored by his parents. He didn’t remain a baby in the manger. He was born to fulfill the purpose God has set before Him. And that purpose was to reconnect you and I to his Father God.

The good news of the birth of our Messiah, our Savior was welcomed by the angels, the shepherds and the animals. The simplicity of His birth showed that we don’t need to have extravagant decorations and lavish parties to celebrate his birthday. As much as we want to beautify our homes and create lasting memories with our families, the most important question still stands… Is your heart prepared to welcome the Messiah?

God loved you and me so much that He gave his son to die and live for us. And that anyone who believes in his sacrificial death to pay for our sin, He will give you the gift of eternal life, the life with God forever. This is a gift freely given to those who wish to receive it. It is not something we earn. It is graciously given to you and me even if we don’t deserve it. Will you accept the gift Jesus offers you? If so, will you GIVE yourself to Him and make HIM the center not only of your home but your heart?