Organization is a big part of being able to keep your traditions centered on Christ. Every year begin preparing for Christmas by buying an inexpensive notebook to jot down all ideas and plans with an overall view of focusing more on the Savior. This can be a three-ring binder, a composition book, or a simple spiral book. You can decorate it with your scrapbook paper stash to make it look festive. You want something durable because you will be seeing a lot of this notebook in the coming weeks. A small notebook is easy to carry around with you so it is readily accessible for when the spirit hits you.
The Christmas planning notebook may be divided into sections such as: *Budget *Gift lists *Menus, recipes, and baking ideas *Calendar *Christ centered traditions *Spiritual thoughts and ideas for family lessons or study *Service *Cards and letters to write *Ideas for children and family activities *Service ideas and plans *Anything else you need to write down.
Start organizing sections in the notebook early, even before Halloween, and add ideas and plans as you think of them. The entire purpose of this Christmas planning book is to help your family have the time and energy to focus more of your efforts and time together on the most important part of Christmas, the Savior.
This notebook will be your 'brains' for the next few weeks and next year you will have a great resource to draw from.
Now that you have your notebook and you are well on the way to being organized, we want to share with you some of our ideas and traditions for having a Christ Centered Christmas. The posts on this blog will provide you with various ideas that you can file away in your notebook and utilize to make your holiday Christ centered.
PLEASE SHARE any ideas you have with us. Either comment on an existing post or email Sarah at famtreeclimber AT hotmail DOT com.
We are excited to share the true meaning of Christmas together!
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.
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.
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.
"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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
We are two sisters, Sarah and Anna, and our Mom, Ruth working together to compile and share traditions that are centered around Christ.
We love traditions that bring us closer as a family and help us remember our Savior at Christmas. Our family has enjoyed many of the ideas listed on this site and we have many happy memories resulting from the traditions established through the years.
We also love trying new things and searching through the creative ideas of others on the internet. We hope to be able to bring all these ideas together to share the true meaning of Christmas, our Savior.
There are a lot of resources yet to be added. Check us out often!