This year especially I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed and unprepared for Christmas both spiritually and physically. My mind has been going a mile a minute, work has been stressful, I’ve been up late working on special projects for people, our schedules have just been jam packed and to top it all off, Little Man isn’t with us this year. *tears…lots of tears* The holidays, but especially Christmas without the little man is rough. He brings an excitement to the festivities and really makes Ryan and I focus on family. We decorate together, bake cookies, sing Christmas songs, watch Christmas movies, hide the pickle ornament in the tree, open the advent calendar daily, put ourselves in other’s shoes and ask ourselves what they want for Christmas. We get our family Christmas tree, tour the Botanical Garden of Lights, kiss under the mistletoe, and snuggle a lot. The holidays bring out the late nights of PJs, movies, and snuggles! I miss having little man to cuddle with. He’s a little homebody just like his daddy.
Well, this year is different. Little man is with his mama in Iowa and Ryan and I have been doing our best to get that Christmas feeling. We set up the nativity, wrapped Christmas presents, watched some Christmas movies and went to the Botanical Garden of Lights. None of these were quite as energized. Kids are amazing. Once you have them, you never want to go back to pre-kids, at least I know I don’t. Since I don’t have any little ones in the house at the moment, I am very nostalgic. All I have been doing is planning traditions that I want to have with my children.
My absolute favorite tradition is the “Shepherd’s Sack.” A friend posted this blog on facebook and I fell head over heels in love with it! The idea of the “Shepherd’s Sack” is that a little burlap sack is hung in place of each child’s stocking and throughout the month of December the child receives monetary rewards for good deeds, kind words, and being Christ-like. Then on Christmas Eve, the burlap sacks are emptied and counted. The money the children earned is then used to buy something for a family in need. It could be a chicken for a family or they could sponsor a child for a year. All depending on how much money they earned. After the presents are bought, the children get to hang their stockings by the chimney with care! The purpose of this is to remember that living a life that honors Jesus Christ, you will be rewarded in heaven.
Every other tradition that I enjoy fails in comparison to this one, but I am a sucker for traditions and creating memories, so there will be many more! I want to have an Elf on the Shelf! That will be so much fun! I think it really invigorates children’s imaginations and I thoroughly believe in the power of a good imagination! Let the Children set up the Nativity with little guidance from us. We will read the Nativity story so that they become very familiar with it, but I really want to see the children’s interpretation of where all the figures should be placed. It’s something we always did growing up. I want all the kiddos to sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve!! This is one family tradition that we did pretty much until we were married! All the kids piled into the largest bedroom with sleeping bags, pillows, stuffed animals, flashlights, books, and big dreams of the coming morning! It’s a hoot for the kids and makes managing bedroom doors very easy for the parents wink wink! Finally, I want to sing Happy Birthday Baby Jesus on Christmas morning before opening a single present!!