deck the halls

Our first Christmas tree in five years.  every Christmas we’ve either been moving, sick, or too poor to afford one. Tuesday I took zu to storytime at the library,  and at the end of storytime, instead of lining up to pet the puppets like most of the kids she wanted to look at the “baby” Christmas tree, and so I figured we could stand to take a bit from the grocery budget this month to make going out and getting a tree possible.  we spent the evening decorating it, baking sugar cookies, and reading our advent story for the night. 
One thing I’ve really enjoyed about parenthood is starting our own traditions. Some things we’ll carry over from each of our families, some things we start new.   Like my family, we dedicate an evening to decorating the tree together and we don’t do the whole santa claus thing, and like bryan’s family we celebrate advent.

This is our first year to do family advent devotions each week, and I love it so much! We’re using a devotional guide that goes along with the jesus storybook bible. I had never even been aware of the liturgical calendar until I was in college (I don’t understand the traditional country church penchant for spaghetti dinners and flannelgraphs while kicking the liturgical calendar to the curb), and its something bryan and I want to emphasize as a family. 
Zu is too little to get all of it, but she has learned a little bit about waiting. Each day we have her open a door on our advent calendar and take out a prize (past prizes: a sticker, acorns, a vitamin, candy, a bracelet, a pretty leaf…), and each day she asks “more?” and we tell her to wait. The first couple days she huffed about it (and even threw down her acorn! Bad!), but now she is getting the hang of this “Waiting” thing.
Honestly, Christmas has never been my favorite holiday. The materialism, greed, crowds shoving and trampling each other, fake glitter and gaudiness makes me sad.
But that is Christmas without jesus! And with jesus we have so much to celebrate—hope in a little baby born! And joy in us, such very broken things, being mended new.

7 Comments

  1. ah i love your tree! so pretty! and C and i want to start doing advent next year– we know several families that started this year and love it. i have been intimidated by it– mostly because it's foreign to me– but it really seems like something worth learning.

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  2. thank you! and you should! i have a really simple jesus story book bible advent guide in pdf if you'd like it. it isn't the traditional candle names though, so y'all might want to do something else–i've liked that this one isn't too difficult to do with lots of little ones involved

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  3. Just now catching up on a lot of your posts. I have missed your writing. Hopefully I can make up for some of the missed comments now. I loved this: “One thing I’ve really enjoyed about parenthood is starting our own traditions. Some things we’ll carry over from each of our families, some things we start new. Like my family, we dedicate an evening to decorating the tree together and we don’t do the whole santa claus thing, and like bryan’s family we celebrate advent.” It was so cool to hear where you've drawn different traditions. My family never did Advent or organized a hymn sing at Christmas, but those are both things Tyson's family did. My family was big on watching the same Christmas movies every year, which is something I've carried into our family (it's not Christmas without “It's a Wonderful Life” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” among others!). We did Advent last year with Milo, but it was mostly unsuccessful and he didn't understand any of it then, and this year it's just too hard, so I'm sad to say we're missing it, but I am hoping against hope that we can start it up again next year. We did the Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Guide last year and it was wonderful.

    Side note…have you ever seen the Garfield Christmas special? I used to watch it when I was a kid and it is possibly the most hilarious and best Christmas special of all time. If Zu and June have not experienced it, it's a must-see for the holiday season. Fave quote: “Back in my day, all we had were wood-burnin' cats!”

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  4. Oh, and we don't do the Santa Claus thing, either. My family did, but I've known since I was 9 or 10 that I wouldn't do it with my kids…and I really haven't changed much in philosophy since I was 9 or 10 in a lot of things…

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  5. Final comment…I can't believe you finally have a TREE!!! YAY!!! Maybe you can become like me and pour all your creative energy into decorating for various and sundry holidays instead of into writing. 😉 Just kidding…don't do that. Really…don't. 😛

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  6. it is past time for me to get a tree lol! i wish i was better/more enthusiastic about decorating for holidays–its fun for the kids, so i need to be more motivated with it!

    i'm glad too to hear we're not the only weirdos that don't believe in santa claus!! i never wanted to do it for my family either–we didn't when i was a kid, and i never felt like we were missing out

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  7. oh and i wouldn't do advent either if june was as young as linus! it was too hard for us to do advent last year and zu was one. this year its worked out better though

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