Sunday, December 26, 2010

Seeking Christ

"As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always."

~Thomas S. Monson


Friday, December 17, 2010

Reindeer Names


When our oldest children were old enough to read gift tags on packages they began to sort and stack packages under the Christmas tree into piles according to the name on the tag. That was annoying to me as they compared piles of presents, who had the biggest package, guessing what was in the package, etc. It was distracting to the focus we wanted to have in our home and seemed to bring out the "gimmies'.

To solve the problem we began randomly assigning each member of the family a different reindeer name each year and they would not find out which reindeer they were until Christmas. The piling, comparing and guessing stopped completely! It is a system we have used successfully for about 25 years on the gifts that are from Mom and Dad.

Another idea for handling presents under the tree that I really like is the tradition of each child receiving 3 gifts, representing the gifts from the wisemen. One gift could be something useful, one could be something fun that is wanted and one a book or something related to a skill or hobby that the child has interest in.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Art Activity: Mural of Christ

We do not advertise or sell things on this site, but when I found this beautiful project for our family to make I knew I had to share it here.

It is a stunning mural of the nativity which is downloaded and printed off in about 35 pages, then pieced together and colored or painted by you. We will be creating our masterpiece as our family travels home to gather for Christmas. A great project we can all work on down to the very youngest. Kind of like doing a  puzzle together, only much more interactive and creative. The download is 5 dollars.

Happy coloring!

Names of Savior Art

Amy at the Idea Room posted a great idea for a Christ centered Christmas gift or decor for your home. She simply wrote some of the names of Christ and framed them. Really Lovely!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Devotional

Last night was the annual Christmas devotional for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can watch the entire broadcast online. It is full of wonderful Christmas messages and beautiful music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A great way to invite the Spirit of Christmas into your home.

Messenger and Advocate has posted some beautiful shots of the Christmas lights at Temple Square.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Shepherd's Night


"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night"

Plan to spend an evening with your family as though you were humble shepherds on that wondrous night when an angel of the Lord appeared with glad tidings.

Begin the evening with a hearty dinner of "Shepherd's Pie", or eat on the floor on a blanket a more humble fare as the shepherd's may have had with them such as pita bread and cheese. Spend this evening by candlelight.

Read from the scripture the part they played in the birth of Christ. Sing "As Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night". Have everyone dress as shepherds. Act out their story.

Read the prophecy from Alma 13:26 and discuss how these were not just ordinary shepherds, they were "just and holy" and prepared. How can we make ourselves just and holy? How can we prepare our hearts?

The shepherds went with haste to the Christ child. Do we seek out, are we urgent about finding things that bring us closer to Christ? What brings us closer to Him? I love that phrase "with haste".

When they had seen the babe (Luke 2:17) they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. How do we share our testimony of the Savior? Do we share our love of the Savior with our family? Do we love Him enough to try to be like Him? Do we live our testimony? How can we make "known abroad" our tender feelings about Him this Christmas season?

Make Shepherd Cane cookies. You could already have the dough ready and let each person make their own cane.

Shepherd Cane Cookies

1 C butter
1 C powdered sugar
1 egg
1 t peppermint extract
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 C flour
1 t salt
1/2 t red food coloring

Mix together butter, sugar, egg and extracts thoroughly. Stir in flour and salt. Divide dough in half. Blend red coloring into one half of the dough. Cover the two pieces of dough and refrigerate.

To bake:
preheat oven to 350. for each cookie, roll 1 t of dough from each half back and forth on a lightly floured surface into 4 inch rope. Place 1 red and 1 white rope side by side. Press together lightly at top and twist. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and turn down top to form the crook of the cane.

Bake 9 minutes. Watch closely as they have a tendency to brown quickly. Cool on racks.

Other ideas for Shepherd Night:

For young children (or not so young "children" (I like to sing this song) sing "The Itsy Bitsy Shepherd" with actions, found by clicking on Music on the side bar to the right on this site.

Families with young children could make construction paper sheep with cotton balls glued on.

"Find the Lost Sheep" game could be played where a "sheep" hides somewhere in the house and the shepherds try to find him. The little lost sheep could cry "baa" until found.

A small lamb from a nativity set could be hidden in the room, and the children find him and then take turns hiding him again.

The children could sleep that night as shepherd's slept, on the ground. It is fun to have a night of sleeping near the Christmas tree.

There are so many lessons to be learned from those wonderful shepherds of long ago.

"And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds".

Christmas Bells Are Ringing

Actions to do with the song "Christmas Bells Are Ringing" for young children

Christmas bells are ringing
(do action with hands that looks like you are ringing bells)

Hear what they say to you
(place hands to ears as if trying to hear better)

Jesus is born
(rock arms back and forth as if rocking a baby)

In Bethlehem, in Bethlehem
(raise arm high above head while opening and closing hand to represent a twinkling star)

If you are interested in other songs with actions for children click on music under "Labels" on the side bar.


Friday, December 3, 2010

I Know that My Savior Loves Me

When I think of the babe born in Bethlehem, I can't help but reflect on the love of our Savior and why He came to the earth. This is a beautiful song, which was the theme for the primary children this year and I love the paintings in this slide show and the overall message.

I know that my Savior loves me and ALL of His children. I have felt His love and the power of the atonement through times of sorrow, sin, confusion, and hardships as well as in all the joyous and happy times in my life. He is my friend whom I look to in all circumstances and with Him I know all things are possible, as I strive to keep His commandments and honor the covenants which I have made with Him.

You can download the words and music for this song here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Twelve Witnesses of Christ's Birth

This article is helpful in studying the scriptural accounts of the witnesses of Christ's birth.

This could also be a fun FHE with props for family members to dress up and read the scriptural testimonies of each witness. Or you could make a video of "eye witness accounts" and do it as a news show.

Some of these witnesses are often forgotten. Like Anna, after whom I'm named.  But each had an important role in testifying to the world who the Christ child was and would become.
Anna by Rembrant

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