November 27, 2010

Sharing Saturday

Now that Rex is getting older and understanding more, I really want him to understand what Christmas is all about.  I worry that he’ll become this greedy little kid who dreams of the billions of presents Santa will bring, rather than understanding that Christmas is about something bigger and more important than anything that has ever happened in the history of the whole world.  It's about the birth and life of our Savior.  So, I’ve decided to dedicate next week to Christmas ideas and crafts that help us remember Christ in Christmas.

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I have several ideas I’m excited to show you and I have also invited a couple of bloggers to contribute some ideas as well.  I am really excited about it! 

So, for Sharing Saturday today I thought it would be fun to hear some of the things you’ve done to help remember the reason for the season.  That’s the only question for the day.  I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts.

Thank you for stopping by today!

27 comments:

  1. i totally hear you! i am going through that worry phase with my 4 year old right now. we have already gone through her toys and books and taken some that she doesn't play with anymore to a shelter for women and children. it not only clears out some room in my house, but it teaches her that there are other people in the world who have a lot less that we can share with. looking forward to hearing your ideas! i am always thinking about how we can make Christmas more meaningful!

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  2. We use pictures of Jesus as ornaments on our Christmas tree. I bought the 12 pack of small pictures from Desseret Book and then put ribbons on them to hang on the branches (away from lights, of corse). Even though my children are young, they recognize who Jesus is and I'm hoping that they will recognize that He is the reason for the season.

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  3. Thank you, Cheri - I'm excited to see what you post! :)

    One thing my family tries to do each year is to each purchase a brand-new hymnbook for our ward building - I say tries, because for the last seven years we've been in wards where the buildings are newly-built, so the hymnbooks are still in really good shape.

    So, the second thing we've decided to do is giving our friends, neighbors, and family a nail (a really big, heavy nail) with a cute ribbon and a message about the Atonement - to remind us of Christ. Then we put one on our tree, if we have a tree, and kind of talk about it each day until we take the tree down. I think that one is my favorite. Every time I walk into our living room I see the huge nail hanging on the tree, with a picture of Christ on the wall not far from it, and I remember, what the Lord did for us, and what we are really celebrating at Christmastime - His coming to the Earth to save all mankind. :)

    Felicity at {Simple Elegance

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  4. We are terrible parents and have taken the magic out of Christmas by telling our kids that we give presents to people because we love them, and people give us presents because they love us, just like the three wise men brought gifts to baby Jesus. Another thing we just got was a "Santa Bag" that has different Christmas symbols in it, and how things like ornaments and lights and wreaths stand for different things having to do with Jesus. There is a story that goes along with the bag, called "Teach the Children" and it has Santa telling a mother to teach the children the true meaning of the different Christmas symbols. Hope this helps.

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  5. I LOVE this idea Cheri!!! I can't wait to hear what you and others have to say. I have to be honest and say I haven't done a whole lot. I mean, throughout the year, I talk about (with my 8 yr old stepson) how we need to give to the less fortunate and that we are so blessed by God to have what we have. Last Christmas we kept emphasizing to Logan that it's not ALL about the toys. It's hard when he goes from one house to the other. We serve God but at his other home, they don't. So I feel a HUGE burden, especially now that he's getting older, to start sharing God with him more & more. What better time of year to start, than Christmas. I now have a son of my own, about to be 6 months. I was just thinking we needed some new traditions. I am thinking I will be getting some great ideas from all of you. I especially like the huge nail idea from Felicity, above.
    A cousin of mine has a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas. Her and her family (she has 2 children) hang balloons and make a birthday cake in his honor. I think that's cute.
    Anyways, I didn't mean to write a book. Thank you for sharing this with all of us! I can't wait!

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  6. This is something that really concerns me as well. I want my kids to know the reason for the season, so I am excited to hear your ideas. For now we have a Christmas advent calendar that has a daily scripture about Christ. We have a little manger that we put a straw in for each act of kindness we perform until Christmas. We go through the kid's things and donate to good will. We give money to the bell ringers, and talk to our kids about why we do that. We adopt a family that could use a little extra help and leave them surprises on the front step for 12 days before Christmas. In our Santa letter we can ask for things, but we also must include the one thing we are going to focus on this season that will help us keep Jesus in our hearts. I think the big thing is just to talk to your kids about it. Even if they are really young, they understand, and if you talk about it as you are going through the motions they get it.

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  7. We are doing the 12 days of Christmas for a little girl in my sons primary class at church. I think this will help them forget about what they want for a little and think about someone else. This is our first year doing this. I think my children are finally old enough to really get it. They are 6 & 3.

    We are also using the book the twelve days of Christmas. 12 days before Christmas we start reading this book. It has a poem for each piece of the nativity. It has been fun for us to take that time and really focus on the events that occurred leading up to the birth of the savior. The very last piece of the nativity is Christ and we do that one on Christmas eve. It then is exciting to think that the next day is when the savior was born

    one last thing we will do this year is we are going to get together with family and act out the nativity. It should be fun.

    I am very excited to see your upcoming post. Thanks for your awesome blog

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  8. My little guy is still to small to understand but when I was teaching a student shared her family's tradition and I quickly adapted it for my family. The children in her family receive 3 gifts (3 wise men). One gift is something they really want, second gift is a gift that the entire family can enjoy (game, zoo membership...) and the third is something educational (Leap pad, computer, book...). I loved that this philosophy limits gifts and brings in the meaning of Christmas. My son is 15months but we are still doing this, Little Tykes Cozy Car (he really would love this), Homemade Car Mat (Family gift- we can all play on this), and books (Educational). Hope this helps!! Ho, ho, ho!

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  9. The commenters above have some wonderful ideas! I think I might try implementing a few of them! What we do for our kids is probably parental blasphemy, lol! We don't do Santa. We tell our kids that the gifts are from us and family members and we explain why we give gifts: to celebrate Jesus' birth. We alos read the Christmas story on Christmas morning. I'm looking forward to this week's posts!

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  10. For our nightly scripture study in Dec. we read the story of the Savior's birth (my kiddos are 3 and 2 so we only read 5 verses a night). I have a magnetic nativity so when we talk about certain 'characters' who played a part in that night we add them to the nativity. Then we add straw (raffia), representing our Christ-like acts from the day, to the tiny manger that I built. On Christmas morning our kids wake up to the baby Savior in his soft manger. We go back over the Christmas story using our completed nativity.

    I can't wait to hear some fresh ideas.

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  11. Oh this is great! I don't have any ideas, but I am excited for next week!!

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  12. I'm excited to see what the posts are! I have been stalking for awhile and now, I'm your newest follower! :)

    -Ponytails

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  13. My kiddos & I make presents for their friends. This year we made crayons, below is a link to what we made & how. My kiddos get three gifts, because Jesus got three gifts from the wisemen and we also bake a birthday cake on Christmas. The kiddos love to decorate the cake which turns out very interesting to say the least.

    http://mishkacole.blogspot.com/2010/11/homemade-christmas-gifts-with-note.html

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  14. Honestly, so far this year I haven't done anything to remember Christ in Christmas. I've been so obsessed with getting things done early this year and making plans that I haven't even addressed it in my mind. Thank you so much for the reminder. I'll definitely be checking your blog this week for ideas to remind MYSELF about the birth of Jesus.

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  15. I always really liked going to Temple Square to see the nativity, but...I don't live in UT anymore, so I miss out on that stuff. I'm gonna have to find something out here in Michigan.

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  16. We have an advent calendar where each day has a scripture or quote about Christ.

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  17. I don't have any children, but when I was a kid, we had an advent wreath and every Sunday we would light a new candle and read scripture as a family. Also, on Christmas morning before we opened any presents, we always read the Christmas story from the Bible. Each of us would read a section of it.

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  18. Years ago I made an advent calendar that is the traditional Christmas tree where each day you add an ornament. But, ours says:"I'm trying to be like Jesus" on it, and in each of the pockets along with the ornament for the tree is a scripture reference. Each day we look up the scripture and read what Jesus did in it and then we look for opportunities that day to do the same. My oldest is three this year so she is finally old enough to start getting the concept, so we'll see how well it works out.

    Also, we have a tradition of giving all homemade gifts at Christmas. It helps us all to spend the season focusing on what we can give to others rather than what we'll be getting b/c we have to take the time to make everything. My oldest is finally getting involved in this one too this year, she has already been working on a super hero costume for her cousin. Of course, I am helping her, but she does a lot of the work herself and she took the time to think of the gift and help me design it. I know that in the few short years that we've been doing it, its helped me get out of myself completely, when Christmas morning comes I am so excited about how everyone will enjoy their gifts that its honestly a total surprise to me that there are gifts for me too!

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  19. My kids are so little we are just starting to formulate a plan! I'm looking forward to your posts. Right now we just plan to read the Christmas Story every Christmas eve to help balance out the Santa fun.

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  20. I am soo excited to see what is to come! For some reason, this is the year I feel that we really need to focus on the reason for the season and here are a few ideas that I'm working into our traditions. We are going to have and eat a birthday cake with our Christmas meal. My 3 year old LOVES bday cake and gets soo excited to sing Happy Birthday, I'm hoping this will grab his attention and help him make the connection to what we're really celebrating. Also, we are going to purchase a Little People Nativity. The nativity we have now is only for looking, not touching, so I don't think my kids pay a whole lot of attention to it. I'm hoping that once we have a baby Jesus toy to play with, they will think more about the story. And finally, our advent calendar will be a special scripture based calendar instead of just candies we open and eat. Each day has a scripture about Jesus and his life so they kids can learn more about Him and His life as we countdown to Christmas day! It was an awesome idea that a woman in my Mom to Mom class shared. I'm hoping to post about it on our blog! Can't wait to hear other ideas and add to our family's learning about the Christ in Christmas!!

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  21. My daughter is at the perfect age for grasping this important concept, too. Like many others, we've gone through her toys/clothes to donate, and we talk about sharing what we have with others who may need it more than we do. We also have started a food box. She picks out a canned good each time we grocery shop, and when the box is full, we'll take it to our local food bank.

    We were blessed with our daughter through adoption, so it's a part of our everyday language with her. We're relating the Christmas story to her by sharing with her that Joseph adopted Baby Jesus as his son to raise with love as his own, much the same way that Mommy and Daddy adopted her. It's something she seems to understand, and relate to.

    Looking forward to seeing your ideas!

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  22. At our family Christmas party every year we write a gift that we will give to Jesus throughout that year, it is personal and we can choose to share it with the family, or not. I have loved the traditon, and wanted my boys to feel the effects of it too. My boys are about the same age your boys are, and I share your sentiments. While they are perhaps too young to appreciate the gift in the same way I do, they are so pleased to be able to give something to Jesus, and they do their best to really do what they tell him they will.

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  23. We have a special family home evening early in December, usually right after the first presidency Christmas message, and my husband and I present a beautifully wrapped gift with a slot on the top for everyone to drop their slips of paper telling what service they did for each other until Christmas. Then on Christmas eve we open it and read what everyone did. It brings the spirit and everyone loves it.

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  24. Soy de Barcelona,Spain. A partir del 4 de diciembre ponemos en casa el "pesebre", una representación con figuritas del nacimiento de Jesús en una cueva , figuritas de pastores llevandole sus ofrendas, La Anunciación a los pastores de que ha nacido el salvador, .... una pequeña maqueta representando el nacimiento del Señor. Y los niños rezan al pequeño Jesus el 24 por la noche.
    Besos. Núria.

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  25. My two year old keeps saying, "It's almost Christmas. That means Santa is coming." Cute, but not really what I want them to take away from Christmas. So this year Santa will bring the girls a fun gift and a spiritual gift. I'm thinking the spiritual gift will be The Children's Song Book. It will have an a attached note from the Big Jolly Guy, letting the girls know that even Santa knows the true reason for the season. I'm hoping this will put the focus on what I really want the girls to know about our Savior and Christmas.

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  26. Thanks for doing this. I feel like Christmas this year (especially in the blog world) has been all about shopping and giveaways. It's been driving me crazy and I am so sad to even admit that I have forgotten what Christmas really is about this year! I am excited to see what you come up with and will definitely be incorporating some of the ideas. Thanks again!

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  27. Because our extended family is of mixed religions, I have always felt a responsibility to show that we are Christians. At Christmas I feel it even more heavily, since it is the only time of year that some of them hear from us. So, I only buy Christmas cards that have a picture and message about the birth of Christ. In our Christmas letter I include a brief testimony of the Savior. I even only buy "traditional" Christmas stamps to mail them with!

    In our home as our children grew up, we had a special "Savior Stocking" with small papers and a pencil near by. When someone did a service for someone else in the family, they wrote it down and put the paper in the stocking. Then on Christmas Eve, after reading the story from Luke, we would take the papers out and read about our family's gifts to Jesus.

    I tried as much as possible to keep the sacred and secular decorations separate. That way our kids would only have one aspect of Christmas to think about at a time.

    As our children got older, we participated as a family with an angel tree.

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