At MOPS today (Mothers of Pre Schoolers) our discussion group topic was all about our family traditions during Christmas. I loved listening to the other moms ideas...it got me thinking about this year and our traditions.
Since Julia is almost 2 now and "speaks/understands English" we wanted to start some new traditions this year on Christmas. We hope that our children will understand and come to love the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season as the saying goes!
*We want to start our morning with a group hug and prayer of thanks!
1. I am thankful for a warm cozy house.
2. I am thankful for a husband who works hard to provide for us so that I can stay home with Julia and Mark.
3. I am thankful that we can go to church and worship freely with people we dearly love and call family.
4. I am thankful that Julia and Mark have relatives that all live within a few miles of our house.
5. I am thankful for food and clothes...especially on Sunday evenings when we pick up fresh Italian bread form the bakery and John makes homemade red sauce and pasta! Julia and I sing a "noodles and sauce" song that John made up.
6. I am very thankful for the birth of our Savior.
7. I am so thankful for two very healthy, beautiful children!
*We want to eat homemade breakfast muffins (John's favorite citrus muffins...I will share the recipe on Christmas Eve) with candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus! After all we celebrate with gifts because its not our birthday but His! Julia is getting very good at blowing out candles too since we let her do it at everyone else's birthday party. Grown ups really don't seem to care about candles as much as little ones.
*We want to read the real Christmas story featured in Luke 2. Where Jesus is born to a virgin girl named Mary. Where Joseph is honorable and loving and believes that what the angel told him is true and still agrees to marry Mary since she is pregnant with not just any baby but the Son of God!
*We can't wait for Julia to actually open up Christmas gifts this year. This is so exciting! (Especially since Barney, her favorite purple dinosaur, is visiting her!!!
Last year Julia was learning how to walk and talk at this time, but now she is so engaging with her talking and she is so curious and independent. She loves to play with her toys and build things, and read. I just can't wait to see her eyes light up when she can tear open a box and see something she would enjoy inside. I think she is really going to like ripping open the pretty wrapping paper too...and she will like helping me clean up, she's such a happy little helper. I fully believe that when we experience one of life's true joys like graduating from school, earning a degree, getting married, getting the dream job you've interviewed for, having a baby and you just celebrate in that moment of pure joy and happiness it is like opening up an unexpected amazing Christmas gift. God delights in seeing his children happy and blessed. That is why John and I as Julia and Mark's parents get excited to see them so happy, it's just an added gift.
*Opening up our gifts for each other. I would be lying if I said that I don't look forward to gifts at Christmas. John is the absolute King of gifts and surprises. He is a lavisher of gifts. I tease him throughout the year that his pockets are sewn shut, and tease him about how frugal he is, but that is because he is so wise with our money, and he seeks to lavish his love on all of us and loves to surprise us. Even before we had kids he would hide all my presents (probably in our attic because he knows I never go up there, its scary to me!) and somehow put them under the tree without me ever seeing him do it. I mean he is good!!! We would be at his family's house on Christmas Eve, and when we would come back home they would "magically" appear under the tree!!! He always would get gifts that I never would expect like a new coat that I happened to see at the Mall and mentioned I loved, or brand new scrap book furniture for my room upstairs, my card rack, which holds all my stationary, and I have grown to love, a trip to Paris, that he said was a trip to D.C. Every year he surprises me...and so this year...I am anxiously waiting! Plus, I have some fun surprises up my sleeve too ;)
*Grandma and Grandpa McKinney, Aunt Pia and Aunt Sara coming over in their PJs to celebrate Christmas morning with us. This has always been very fun! Christmas is so fun in Pajamas!!! John and I used to drive over to my parents house in our pjs and open gifts and dad always made us a gourmet breakfast...I'm talking cheese omelets, bacon, sausage, french toast, waffles, muffins, fruit...the works! We all used to take a nap afterwards because we would be so full. I love sharing Christmas day with my family...it is the best. I love how my mom wraps gifts she is so coordinated and talented with bows, it's truly a work of art. Dad still makes us a big breakfast but now we do everything at my house since we have the kids and nap time is much easier in your own home. Plus we have a fire place and it makes Christmas morning so cozy to sit around the fireplace.
*Christmas Dinner. We have great plans this year for Christmas dinner at our house. I am making a ham, John is making lasagna, and I'm sure there will be a nice salad and some tasty side dishes that Paletza and Sara and my mom will bring. We will probably all share what God has been showing us and teaching us in our life this year and what we are excited about for 2010.
Okay, now I am really excited for Christmas to be here...it is only 17 days away!