I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent...the Countdown to Christmas

This is our first Christmas with a kiddo in the house. Okay, so she’ll only be ten months old on Christmas day. Yet, my husband and I are starting to think about the traditions we want to incorporate with our family during the Christmas season.

In the past, we’ve done a theme tree in the living room (hubby’s idea, not mine!). To keep a happy household, we have a second tree downstairs with the Popsicle stick ornaments and mementos that remind me of childhood Christmases. This year, we are doing the “fun” tree in the living room so Haley can enjoy the crazy ornaments she’s already collected—including the “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament she receive last year, before she was born. (That will be confusing to explain someday…thanks, Grandma!)

I make a point, to hubby’s dismay, of collecting Nativity scenes—meaning they cover every flat surface in our house. I’m already plotting the purchase of a Fisher Price Little People Nativity my daughter can plan with. Our Scandinavian heritage is reflected with the Christmas gnomes and dala horses. We’ve been sucked into the Elf on the Shelf, and Rudy now meanders around our house, reporting back to Santa each night.

One tradition we’ve both been looking forward to starting with Haley is the countdown to Christmas with an Advent calendar. As we have looked for the perfect calendar, we’ve seen the Christmas tree you hang over the door, the stand up Reindeer covered in pockets, the Snowman, the Santa. But something about them has never seemed right to me, and I was having trouble explaining my resistance to my husband. Finally, I figured out my hesitation to all the pretty calendars we’d seen. It’s simple. I don’t want Haley to count down to Santa.

I want her to countdown to Jesus.

With this in mind, we’ve found an Advent calendar that keeps the clutter out of Christmas. I can’t wait to make this calendar part of our family tradition for years to come.

What are some of your Christmas traditions? How do you keep the focus on the birth of Jesus during the Christmas season?




  1. I haven't found the ultimate advent calendar yet, here's some of the things we've done to keep the focus on Jesus. We have a tree and even a few reindeer ornaments but no Santas in our house. We always go to a Candlelight service on Christmas Eve, then come home and eat Jesus's birthday cake. Then, on Christmas morning, we eat breakfast and read the Christmas story in Luke before opening presents. (Honestly, you can train your children to let you brush your teeth before ripping into the gifts.)

    You're going to have a wonderful Christmas with Haley!

  2. Hey Amy, your comment about nativities made me think of this blog post I saw the other day. Hilarious!! http://whyismarko.com/2012/the-42-worst-nativity-sets/ Please tell me you don't have a zombie nativity...or one made of meat...hehehe...

  3. Hi Ames!
    I am truly blessed with friends that could and do earn jobs as interior designers. They have the most amazing and elaborate Christmas decorations. I even went so far as to purchase another tree. It's been a couple of years and still every year, we put up one. It's the one with the homemade decorations, the one with decorations made by friends. Our Christmas tradition? We enjoy breakfast at leisure of homemade bread and ham (cuz its the only time of year I bake bread hehe) and of course, the reading of the Christmas story.

    I hadn't thought of a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve, what a fantastic idea!

  4. In the little town of Milaca near our farm a tiny thrift store had amazing nativities and ornaments for practically giveaway prices (I bought one & own one made of olive wood from Israel.) Later at a hardware store when my 16-year-old granddtr. drew my eye to a sale, I bought not one but two Christmas trees plus old-fashioned bubble lights. I'm not sure what's come over me.)
    Ames, your little girl is so blessed and her presence adds endless dimensions to the real meaning of Christmas for you and Gregg now and always. Thanks and congratulations on doing Christmas very well.

  5. Amy, Don't hesitate to buy that FP nativity. I've always had one the kids could act out the Christmas story with.

  6. Oh, Roxanne, the birthday cake is great! I know our nieces and nephews do that, and they love it. We are also going to read the Christmas story on Christmas morning. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh MTagg, gross! No, no zombie or meat nativities! Too funny!

  8. Oh, homemade bread sounds amazing, I might have to steal that idea, too, AT! You should post pictures of your friends decorations, I'd love to see them!

  9. Hi Delores, so neat that you have a Nativity from Israel. Way to go on upping your Christmas decorations!

    Thanks, we are definitely excited to enjoy sharing Christmas with Haley!

  10. Roxanne, love it, I will totally splurge for the FP set!

  11. Amy, I love that you're starting traditions so early with your sweet girl and as a family. Reinforcing them every year will give her wonderful memories to reflect on as she grows older.

    All of the ornaments on our tree have meaning, so I love putting up our tree and sharing those memories every year. I used to read Christmas stories to my boys when they were younger--The Littlest Angel, The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Now they roll their eyes when I suggest our stories. So far though we've managed to be together on Christmas morning. I know time is coming soon when that won't happen.