I love Christmas. I think about it all year long. A couple of years ago I realized that we didn't have much money and there was not really much to buy gifts with. At first I was so upset, then I realized that wasn't really what was important. I decided I would do the best I could, decorate my house with what I had, and love the season for what the season was. This year changed my attitude and my relationship with Christmas. Because of grandparents and other family, the gifts ended up working out and my kids definitely had more than they needed. As I recorded in my "Cut the Crazy out of Christmas" binder; "This was the best Christmas ever! And we truly know that Christmas is more than gifts- it's feelings and relationships."
We have quite a few traditions in my family. And we are lucky enough to be able to live close enough to both of our families that we can spend time with both families. One of our favorite traditions is so much fun! Every year my mom has a "Grandma" party. She invites all of us over, but it's mostly for the grand kids. We usually eat and then the kids decorate cookies. While we are busy the door will open up and in will walk Santa. The kids love it and I love to see the "awe" in their faces! Santa has ornaments for each of us and everyone has to sit on Santa's lap- even Grandma-Great. The ornaments are always handmade or represent something big that happened to each individual that year. It could be a hobby, a major milestone, or perhaps just a favorite character or activity. It is so fun!
We also try to act out the nativity. We all dress up as the different characters and someone reads the scriptures. This is often a highlight of the season! Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry. What a joy this is!
This isn't a tradition, but I have to mention it because it was so good! Last year my husband's mom did "The 12 Days of Christmas" for us. She gave us two big boxes full of presents and we could barely wait to open them. Everyday there was a gift for us to open. They were all based on "Memories" from past Christmases (sp?). Some of them were memories we all had and some were from when my husband was young. They were all fun for us to hear about and remember. Some of the presents cost very little but all came from the heart and were accompanied by a card explaining the gift. This was the highlight of the season, it took the "anxiety" out of "waiting to open presents" and it brought us all closer together.
Above I referred to my "Cut the Crazy Out of Christmas" binder. This is a wonderful tool that my friend Debbie Raymond and her friend Norma created. It is a wonderful system that helps you decide what is really important and keep track of all the important details. After I started using this book Christmas was changed for me! It is so much less stressful and so much easier to "keep it all together". Debbie is teaching a class on this binder. I was able to have a little bit of input into this class (based on my experience using it) and after hearing all their ideas, I truly believe it is going to be a WONDERFUL class! Go check it out, and I would suggest, take the class, if there is anyway you can!