Shawn and I were at a Christmas party last week when the conversation turned to the infamous Elf on the Shelf. If you have young children, you know what I’m talking about. For you uninitiated, it’s a stuffed elf that lives in your house to keep an eye on your kids and report back to Santa. Anyway, my friends were sharing all the “mischief” their elves get into while the kids sleep. One friend’s elf ate chocolate and left the wrappers strewn all over the house for the kids to find in the morning. Someone else’s elf was a bit nicer. He put the tree topper on their Christmas tree for them. Still another took the car out for a spin and left it parked in the middle of the yard. If you ask me, most of these elves need to be reported to Santa…not do the reporting. And, of course, my kids have announced that they want an elf to come live with us. Uh, I’m not sure I have the energy for that!
So, our conversation continued with all the traditions we have as families at Christmas time. Some friends have chosen to only give 3 gifts to their children as a nod to the gifts the wise men gave. Someone said they open one gift on Christmas Eve – always a new pair of pajamas so the Christmas morning pictures will be cuter. And, another said they bake homemade cinnamon rolls to enjoy Christmas morning.
Our family has a few traditions of our own:
-We always decorate the house the day after Thanksgiving (after I return from Black Friday shopping, of course).
-We make a paper chain for the 25 days until Christmas. On each link we write the way we’re going to celebrate Christmas that day. For example, one day we might drive through town looking at Christmas lights and another we might host a Christmas party in our home or make homemade ornaments. We make it work for our life, so some days are really easy like “Pizza under the tree”! The kids love breaking the chain each day to see what fun we have in store. I love knowing that even during a busy season, we’re creating memories for our kids.
– Since Christmas Eve is always a busy day in ministry, we don’t plan much for that night. Our family spends the day leading and serving at MLC, and after the kids go to bed, Shawn and I pull out all the presents and set the scene for Christmas morning. Then, we usually crash. Who cares about traditions at that point?! 😉
– On Christmas morning, we always read the first Christmas story in Luke 2, and, we take turns saying what we’re thankful for and how much we love each other. Sappy, yes. But, oh so precious. Then, all of us pray and tell Jesus how thankful we are for Him. Then, knowing we’ve held the kids off as long as humanly possible, we dive into the presents. 🙂
I’m curious. What traditions does your family have? Since I might be buying an Elf on the Shelf soon, it looks like I’m in the market for some new things to do.