Tuesday, December 18, 2012

core values

Blogging has taken a backseat to Christmas this year, as it should. We are doing our best to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way. A big part of that is simply being available to celebrate a little at a time throughout the entire month of December.

With most of the shopping out of the way (last post), celebrating a little at a time has spawned many spur-of-the-moment holiday crafts...like a family portrait (fingerprints by all of us, antlers by Annike)

... and a wine-cork Christmas tree (no, we did not drink all of these bottles in December)

... and a few snowflakes suspended throughout our home.

In December we have also managed to squeeze in some holiday baking with the last of the fruit in the orchard. These green apples have ended in some delicious desserts.

Our healthy choice for December has been using the old Halloween candy for decorating the gingerbread house instead of for eating. The brilliance of this is simultaneously clearing out the cupboards to make room for all of the Christmas chocolate coming our way.

The Christmas tree looks a little different every year. After breaking a large handful of glass ornaments during the first hours of tree set-up, we made an attempt at toddler-proofing by putting it on top of an old table from the barn. Not a decorating strategy I want to repeat every year, but it seems to be doing the trick. We hung a few kid-friendly ornaments on the lower branches within Sommer's reach, but as I suspected, they have not remained on the tree.

Overall we have clearly been having a lot of fun because the kids are worn out...


Making Christmas meaningful for our children is always a challenge. Despite all efforts at downplaying the wrapped packages under the tree, Annike will tell you she is most excited about the presents she gets to open on Christmas day. How do you combat that?

We are trying to fight it with a few core Christmas values. Ours are:

  • Togetherness - Being together, being present while we are together, celebrating Christmas a little at a time in the moment with each other, celebrating one of the greatest gifts of the season which is these people in my life who I love so much.
  • Giving - This point will be hammered into them: We are giving, giving, giving,... the only way to counteract the "getting". We are giving gifts, giving crafts, giving sweet treats, all of our favorites will be given away. Whether you like it or not, small children, YOU WILL GIVE!
  • Anticipation - Advent is all about anticipating the coming of the Messiah. Children anticipate Christmas day the way that the ancient Jews anticipated their Savior. This parallel can makes it a little easier for these little people to understand the excitement of Jesus coming to earth. We can't wait to celebrate the best Gift of all! Preparing to receive that Gift is what December is all about.

And just when I fear the most important Message may be occluded by the bombardment of the consumer-based messages, Annike asks me an insightful question like "Why do we hang apples and snowmen on our Christmas tree if Christmas is about Jesus?"

Great question, honey. Let me think about that for a minute and come up with a wise response.

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