I listened to Christmas music yesterday. Now I'm all excited for the holidays and so, I gathered my younger children around for a family counsel on Christmas. I asked each of them which Christmas traditions are important to them. We made a list so that we wouldn't get to the end of the holidays and realize we'd missed some of our favorite things.
Here are my three youngests lists.
Bikey-Boy (14 years old) wants to go to that church that has all the Nativities (Creches and Carols), wants to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Nauvoo, hopes to find a nice holiday concert to attend (probably for extra credit in his choir class), and it was important to him that we have pie on Christmas day.
Banana-Girl (11 years old) wants to decorate the Christmas tree while listening to the Amy Grant Christmas CD, go see that house with the amazing amount of lights that blink in time with music playing on their own radio station, do an advent calendar, and watch the movies, It's A Wonderful Life and White Christmas.
Girlie-Whirl (6 years old) wants to make sure that we leave cookies and milk for Santa along with nine carrots for the reindeer (we spent some time over the appropriate number of carrots, wanting to ensure that Rudolph wasn't left out). Make gingerbread girls (not men). She said it's important to her that we have three trees, "The one in the family room, the one in there (pointing to the living room) that we sleep under (a standard Christmas tradition in our home), and the little one upstairs." And lastly, she wanted to do that thing where she dresses up as angel and we act it out. "But this time I kind of want to be Mary."
As we talked we decided that the following traditions were also crucial to our Christmas: making it a month of meaningful service (still working out the details on this one), cutting out lots of snow flakes, reading Christmas Stories and singing Christmas carols (we try to do this every night through December), making homemade gifts for each other, delivering treats to neighbors, and last, but certainly not least, making candy canes with family and friends.
I've barely started Christmas shopping, but who cares? I'm cutting back this year. Oh, we'll still do presents, and probably a bit more than we should, but it's going to be all about the family council list. The challenge will be to resist, resist, resist everytime I want to spend more, make it bigger, pay attention to all of the material stuff that constantly bombards us all, especially this time of year. The focus is going to be, and I'm completely determined about this regardless of how pitiful I've been in the past, the Savior, serving, and family.