Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our First Christmas at Home

In the nine (almost ten) years Kim and I have been married, this is the first Christmas we have spent at home. We have enjoyed creating some new family traditions, while keeping some old.

Christmas Eve at Church

We had a hard time doing Christmas Eve services at church in years past.  Often, it was just me who trekked out to church after the kids went to bed.  Last year we went with my sister's family in Pennsylvania, but now that we are home for Christmas, we were able to go to our home church, Reston Bible, and it was fantastic.  It was really more of a worship service than a traditional service, and our good friend did some teaching with the kids, and it is always a hoot to watch him.

Italian food for dinner?
You know what is awesome about Italian food, besides the taste? You can fix it ahead of time and pop it into the oven when you get home from church.  We had stuffed shells this year, but I think I will do lasagna next year. I didn't take pictures of the food, because I had a migraine and Julia was starting to feel unwell by then.

Surprise Balls

Surprise balls are my new thing.  It is a way to take a bunch of small items and really turn it into an event they will remember.  If I handed my kids a puzzle eraser, a tiny toy dinosaur, an itty bitty yoyo, other assorted tidbits and a Bible verse and that had been it, they wouldn't have been too thrilled.  But wrap it up with strips of crepe paper they have to unwind to find them all?  Priceless.  I think it will be a Christmas Eve tradition for sure.  Julia's scripture, which she unwrapped one verse at a time throughout the ball, was:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 ESV)

This is my Julia unwrapping hers.

Hanging stockings

Hopefully I will be done by next year, but I want everyone to have their own handmade stocking.  We hang ours by the window, and open them after the rest of the presents on Christmas morning. Some of the items we put in are smaller, less expensive items, but we also put more expensive small items, like DVDs in there as well. I guess it will just depend on the year.

Overall, it was a very nice Christmas. I feel like the emphasis was on Jesus, the gift giving didn't get out of hand, the food was good and not stressful, and there is little I would change about it. Mostly, I would plan better for things like stocking stuffers throughout the year. I know I will be keeping my eyes peeled for surprise ball items, but not just for Christmas. I could do them for birthdays, and just plain surprise days too.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?