The power of traditions and feasting was taught to me by Sally Clarkson. I never understood why, as a child, I loved sitting around the table to share a meal together. I never understood the value of making traditions and keeping them from childhood until old age. But now, I see. I see this treasure that stirs my children’s hearts each time a birthday comes or as we enter into Thanksgiving and Christmas. The children identify these holidays with security, happiness and family time. Even in the seasons of my physical weakness they knew we were going to be together and the days full happiness.
It is always the weekend after Thanksgiving that we pull out the boxes of Christmas decor’ and together we turn our home into a simple Christmas land with stockings hung and nativity set out for all to see. After all the decorating has been done we eat chocolate chip cookies and drink hot cocoa while we make paper snow flakes to decorate our kitchen wall. Then we draw names. The name each person draws is the one person he/she will make a gift for. We really encourage each person to use only what we have in the house and to always use their unique gift to bless the person they love.
These gifts have become some of the most treasured gifts we have ever given or received. Here are some of the treasures:
Aren’t these super sweet? I just love every single one of these!
Throughout the season we take fifteen minutes a night to focus on the long awaited Savior and God with us, Emmanuel. We read Ann Voscamp’s, “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift” and chew on the richness of His love. Then, come Christmas morn we read the final devotional from the book, read the bible passages and sing songs together. We feast on homemade cinnamon rolls and fruit and drink in orange juice or whatever delights our fancy. We wait to unwrap gifts until we have settled our minds onto the Reason for the Season and He is worshiped and adored. Then we move onto stockings and gift giving. We try to keep this very simple so as to not inflate the concept of receiving so that our children do not become bloated with expectation every Christmas year. The children are always so happy and thankful for the gifts received.
Christmas day is set aside as a relaxing day, lots of play and simple feasting. I love our Christmas traditions!
These McNutt family traditions are woven into the culture of our home and the life giving atmosphere we want to create. When asked the question, “What do you think of when you think of Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays at our house?” each one of the children said happiness. Each one of them communicated excitement and one of them said, “Sadness for those who don’t have what we have”. I feel the same way.
What are your favorite Christmas traditions and how do you make Christ the focus? If you have never had traditions I encourage you to pray and begin a new culture in your home, creating rich memories.
(Just in case you don’t know who Sally Clarkson is, she is an author, speaker and mentor to many. She is a gift and a friend. Here is her website: www.sallyclarkson.com.)