Christmas Traditions

Making memories with family and sharing traditions is one of my favorite parts of the holidays! There are some traditions we celebrate that have been passed down through the years, and other traditions that we have added to our family over the years. Some traditions have been modified or stopped altogether as our boys have grown, but there are many special times that we look forward to each year.

For example, when the boys were little we used always get a fresh cut real tree, and hunting for just the right tree was part of the fun and a family tradition we looked forward to every year. One year we added an artificial tree, and the rest was history. We found that we could put up an artificial tree or trees, I think we are up to 9 or 10 now,  much earlier and enjoy them longer without the hassle of having to water them, continually sweep up pine needles and battle allergy flare-ups.

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Christmas Eve has always been an important day for our family! When I was a girl growing up I have fond memories of going to Christmas Eve service and the anticipation of Christmas morning. When Peter and I married, Peter’s mom began the tradition of celebrating with them by sharing special snacks, frozen drinks, games and lively conversations on Christmas Eve and we celebrated this tradition for many years.

As our circumstances changed Christmas Eve changed to fit the needs of our family. One year when Peter’s dad was really sick and in the hospital, we ate hamburgers at the restaurant of the hotel that was attached to the hospital. That was a very different Christmas Eve, yet we were all together. Another year my mom was hospitalized and on life support. Christmas Eve changed again that year too and has never quite been the same since Peter’s mom passed away a couple of weeks before Christmas another year. Since then we have started new Christmas Eve traditions with our boys that we look forward to every year.

Here are some of the holiday time traditions that we have enjoyed over the years.

  • Attending Candlelight Service
  • Celebrating Advent
  • Baking Cookies
  • Making Gingerbread Houses
  • Retelling the Christmas Story by making parts of the nativity out of playdough
  • Visiting Christmas Tree farms and cutting down our own trees
  • Shopping for Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving night
  • Table time telling stories with the family
  • Reading aloud the story of the birth of Jesus
  • Reading aloud the Christmas Carol or other beloved stories
  • Watching Family Favorite Christmas Movies
  • Christmas Musicals
  • Christmas Parties
  • Driving around looking at Christmas Lights

Celebrating family traditions helps bind the family ties together. Christmas traditions may adapt and change over time from year to year based on your family circumstances and that is okay. They should be a source of enjoyment and something you look forward to, not drudgery. So if something doesn’t work for your family drop or change it.

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If watching movies is a holiday favorite for you to then I have a special treat for you! I recently learned about Pure Flix and some great things they have going on for free in hopes of helping families start new traditions. Pure Flix has free holiday movies the whole family can enjoy this season! They have made it super easy to watch them too! No need to enter your credit card information, all you need is your name and email. As a bonus, they also offer educational movie options for kids during their Christmas vacation, Pure Flix also has homeschool resources available.

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Whatever you do this Christmas Season, my prayer is that you enjoy making your own special family traditions and that the gift of Jesus Christ who came to save the world rules in your heart and minds.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17 ESV

I would love to hear from you about the traditions you and your family enjoy! Leave a comment sharing your favorite family traditions or new ones you would like to start this year. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New year too!

 

Peace at Christmas

Merry Christmas Friends!

We are one week away from Christmas. I can’t believe how quickly time goes! I hope you are all prepared for the upcoming festivities. This week I am planning to finish up a few last minutes preparations before our family gathers in our home to celebrate and I am looking forward to slowing down a bit and spending some quality time with my boys.

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Where Can We Find Peace This Christmas?

I love the Christmas season it is the most wonderful time of the year! From the first moment, temperatures turn cool and I get to pull out all of my favorite sweaters and boots. I start longing for the Christmas days ahead. There is an excitement in the air, an expectation, and a longing in my heart.

However, for many people, Christmas can be one of the most challenging times of the year. Especially, for those going through a prolonged difficult season or are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Where will peace be found for the hurting this Christmas? Can we find it in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas rush? Is it something we can buy in a store and wrap up in a bow and put under our tree? Will I find it in my home? Will you find it in yours? Or if I turn on the news and hear of threats of Nuclear war from South Korea will I lose it?

To find out where Peace can be found this Christmas, read more at my friend Mitzi Neeley’s blog Peacefully Imperfect….

Peacefully Imperfect

Mitzi asked me to share some thoughts on peace with her readers. While you are at Peacefully Imperfect be sure to check other posts in Mitzi’s special series on Peace and see what else Mitzi is up to on her blog.

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Have a wonderful Christmas week and rest well in the love of Christ this week!

 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours. I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a Blessed New Year. My prayer for you is that you enjoy the gift of the birth of our Savior, he is truly the best gift we have ever been given!

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I want to say thank you to all of my blog readers and subscribers. This year of writing and blogging has been an exciting journey and I look forward to all God has in store for us in 2017!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (ESV)

Finding Fulfillment this Holiday Season

After years of living in a testosterone-filled home and raising boys, it is a joy to spend time with my son’s girlfriend Jane, doing “girlie stuff.” My husband and my son both work at the same consulting firm. For the past two years, we have enjoyed getting dressed up and attending the annual corporate holiday party together.

Jane and I spent the day talking and laughing and prepping together for the party. We enjoyed a day of pampering. Our first stop was Blush and Brush where we enjoyed a blowout and style. Then we went to Saks Fifth Avenue, where Michelle at the Dolce and Gabanna counter made us look beautiful!

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Jane and I talked a lot about family, the upcoming holidays, kids, and friends. My son Jacob and Jane are planning to be engaged soon, so we talked a lot about graduation, her career, and having children. Jacob and Jane were both homeschooled, and have very similar ideas about family. Our conversation turned to fulfillment, and thoughts that girls her age have today about being fulfilled.

Later that evening, we attended the Christmas party at the St. Regis Hotel in Houston. We had a wonderful time in visiting, eating, drinking, and dancing. A couple of hours into the party, Jane and I snuck off to the ladies room where we found a couple of comfy chairs in the dressing area. We kicked off our heels and began laughing and talking. Then, a beautiful young woman who was also at the party walked in. We made small talk for a few minutes when our conversation turned to Jane. We talked about her upcoming engagement, and this young woman proceeded to tell to Jane the importance of pursuing her career and being fulfilled before she had children.  There was that word again, FULFILLMENT. This young lady in bathroom thought the way to be fulfilled was through a career. This got me thinking. What is fulfillment, and how are we satisfied?

What is fulfillment?

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, fulfillment is the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted: winning the championship was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.• Satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character: she did not believe that marriage was the key to happiness and fulfillment.

I am concerned that young women today are being misled about how to achieve fulfillment. True fulfillment doesn’t come from things, people, or a career.

When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a wife and a mom. I had a career, but I couldn’t wait to quit as soon as I could to stay home with my children.  I made the decision to quit work and devote my life to raising and homeschooling my boys. I would not have wanted it any other way. I didn’t struggle with being fulfilled. Like the second definition in the Oxford American Dictionary says, my satisfaction and happiness were a result of fully developing my abilities as a wife and mom, and further developing my character. There is nothing like being a young mother to develop and try your character! From sleepless nights to diapers, and from vomit to screaming toddlers, Motherhood is not for the faint of heart!

How are we fulfilled?

First of all, fulfillment does not come from being married, having children, or having a career. True fulfillment comes from knowing Jesus Christ and living for him. But here is the rub: we will never be truly fulfilled here on earth, because this is not our home. We have a God-shaped hole in our heart that only He can fill.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has placed eternity in our hearts, and He is making us beautiful in His time. As we get to know Jesus Christ and spend time with Him reading His word, and praying we are transformed. Regardless of your age, don’t look to the world or to the things of this world to make you happy or to fulfill you. Fulfillment does not come from things, a house, a job, a car; it doesn’t come from people, a boyfriend, husband or children. You won’t find fulfillment wrapped in a box under your Christmas tree. True fulfillment comes from knowing and walking with the Lord.

May you know His love and feel His Presence afresh this Christmas Season!

 

Holiday Candied Nuts

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! How are y’all doing? Are you ready for Christmas yet?

It is finally cold enough in Texas to actually feel like Christmas. This year I made these yummy nuts to share with family and friends, and they were such a hit! I want to share this super easy Crock Pot recipe with you.

Holiday Candied Nuts in Vintage Mason Jars with Christmas Tree Tags

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Holiday Candied Nuts (Crock Pot Recipe)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Sugar

3/4 cup Brown Sugar

2  Tbsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. clove

1/2 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. nutmeg (freshly ground)

1 Egg White

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 cup pecans

1 1/4 cup almonds

1 1/4 cup walnuts

3 Tablespoons of water

Directions: 

1.  In a large  bowl, mix together sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

2.  In a separate, bowl whisk together egg white and vanilla until combined.

3. Combine together all ingredients except water, and place in a greased Crockpot on low setting. Stir every 15 minutes for an hour an a half.

4. Add water and continue on low for 20 more minutes.

Enjoy!

Looking for last minute Christmas gifts?

Bibles make great gifts. You can still enter to win. I am giving away this beautiful Journal the Word Bible from Thomas Nelson, which sells for $49.99 and it can be yours!

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Like and Share this post to be eligible to win! Journal the Word

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