Every year we travel for Christmas as we alternate years with both of our families. So we have taken to making our own celebration here at home before we leave. We try to make this just a time to slow down, hang out together, open gifts and keep it simple. This year, as we looked at the schedule, our best shot was the first weekend of December so we went with that. We also put up our tree and a few other decorations that weekend. With the number of gifts the children receive, it is probably best to spread out the fun to avoid being overwhelmed. I don't think we went overboard, but we did give the kids more from us than I think we ever have, just because we wanted them each to have a big gift this year. These big gifts were sourced online, through Craig's List and at Goodwill, but appealed to what would be fun and meaningful to each one. I was happy to see the excitement over the hand-knit gifts I made for the kids, too. For the other gifts, I had been shopping throughout the whole year and adding to the stash as I found things they would enjoy at excellent clearance prices.
Smiley on his new Radio Flyer, complete with bell.
Sister by her new dollhouse, found unfinished at Goodwill
for a mere $7.99 and painted by mom with love.
And Sportster ready to assemble his new table hockey game which has already yielded hours of fun with dad, and more than a few lessons in sportsmanship.
And a couple weeks later, Sportster and Sister had the opportunity to be part of a Christmas pageant at our church. They really enjoyed being part of the choir and seeing the production unfold. Their choir was supposed to be dressed as animals from the Friendly Beasts song, so Sportster chose to be a camel and Sister chose to be a dove. I don't feel very gifted in the costume department, but was pleased how these came together as the deadline for costumes approached, and I even had 20 minutes to spare after finishing before walking out the door to their rehearsal with costumes in hand! :)
We really enjoyed our "family Christmas" at home with our kids and enjoyed taking it easy, taking time to open their gifts and giving them time to fully open their gifts and play with them as we went along. We definitely need to remember to allow lots of time for that activity next year.
How do you celebrate Christmas at your house and manage gifts and travel and Christmastime celebrations in your church and community?