Keeping Christ in Christmas

I’m co-hosting the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival, hosted by Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families, Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and the Catholic Bloggers Network. We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas season. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Does anyone else approach Christmas at the beginning of Advent with the thought that this year will be different, and then by the 3rd Sunday of Advent start to panic and anxiously trying to buy extra gifts to supplement, maybe even tackle an ambitious homemade family gift? I’m doing it again.

Thanks to Erika and Tina and this opportunity for reflection, I’m refocusing! How can I remind myself and my family of the true focus of Christmas?

 
Is it quickly adding program to the family event Christmas dinner….reintroducing a dialogue of thankfulness?

Is it combatting the giant inflatable Santas and blinking icicle lights with a reminder of the Nativity in our outdoor decorations?

 
Is it taking the opportunity to give a meaningful gift in place of a fluffy one, even to those who may not at first appreciate it?

 

Now, more than ever before, our Catholic Faith is exercised, our traditions challenged as neighbors plow ahead with their Giant Inflatable Santa, snowmen and reindeer snow globes, wandering reindeer adorned with a gazillion Christmas lights, banners of ‘ happy Holidays’ and ‘Season’s Greetings’ and fluffy Christmas songs filling every Christmasy-decorated store. 
 
 
 
I was shocked to find….not even ONE religious ornament at Walmart and was resigned to make my own for our donated Christmas ornament for our Catholic school.






 
Family time is getting more and more hectic with a first job for our 16 year old, a paper route for our 11 year old and the usual rush of homework and assignments, let alone Christmas concerts, gift buying and family celebration planning. I usually make a homemade gift for all of the family, whether it’s an updated Catholic Family Calendar! with all of the extended family dates, a DVD of all the family photos…cousins, aunts and uncles, a Scrapbook Story book, Christmas ornament, the family version of Guess Who?! or  whatever Christmas Gift idea comes to meusually on or around Dec 22! 

Advent Calendars are upbut sometimes only our 6 year old really remembers to open the little doors or move the star.  The Nativities are proudly displayed with only a few characters disappearing to explore the house (or compare Nativities?). 
Our Advent Wreath is once again set upbut we have yet to light a candle on the appropriate Sunday. 
 
Mass will help to guide our celebrations, although our little 2.5 year old does his best to derail us!


 

 
Gift giving, inevitably plays a big role in Christmas.  One thing, I think that has helped to reign in our Christmas though is

Something old, something new, something borrowed or made by you.

Does it bother you to buy new, expensive toys, when there are perfectly good ones strewn across the house? I sometimes have trouble letting go of toys, especially when they were favorites of one of the kids…and there’s a sibling following in their footsteps.

Sometimes, it helps to buy a new container…maybe used as a dresser….packed with Groovy Girl or Build-a-Bear Hand-Me-Downs. We don’t get many complaints about Hand-Me-Downs…even from the older kids…especially when they’re carefully chosen for us by close and admired family and friends!
 
We have refurbished Barbie collections, Lego, Build-a-Bear, Groovy Girls, Littlest Pet Shop, Polly Pockets, Fisher Price and now Thomas the Train. Sometimes, I’m able to add a little for that “new for you” extra touch ….like customizing Thomas trains with new names and paint, making a fleecy sleeping bag or some new little linens for a Hand-Me-Down doll bed.
 
It makes me proud, to see kids…letting go of some of their favorite toys, because they know how much a younger sibling will treasure them.  It’s kind of nice keeping some of those special collections in the family.
 

Christ in Christmas: my 9 ideas

1. Our most meaningful Christmas decoration, front and centre, the Nativity
 
2. Concession for Confession…our pastor asked that instead of Christmas gifts, he wants all his parishioners to go to confession!

3. Fostering gratitude as in our
Mailbox Advent Wreath
 

4. Centering Christmas celebrations, entertaining and travel around Mass and family.

5. Homemade gifts …fostering family Faith, culture and fun…like our
Catholic Family Calendar! Once the first one is built…copies are easy to make for Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins!
 
6. Re-furbished Hand-Me-Downs of treasured toys, passed from one sibling to another.

7. Extra donations for World Vision and Chalice.  We have been known to make a special donation in honor of the kids’ teachers, in place of regular teacher gifts.

8. Stronger commitment as ever to private prayer, even when I feel especially stressed and busy as ever…that’s when I need it more than ever!

9. Watch the Nativity DVD as a family


I’m also linking up this post to the Happy Hour Friday Link-Up: every link will be matched with a $1 donation in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

 

 

 

Here are the links to the other blog carnival participants. I hope you’ll take the time to visit them and leave a comment on their posts! 🙂

 


 

 

Homeschool Mosaics: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Joy: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Advent Interruptions

The Breadbox Letters: Interrupted by Glory

TwentyTuesdayAfternoons: Keeping Christ in Christmas/ The Season of Giving / A Wee Bit of Beach Holiday Angst

The Learning Basket: Staying With the Nativity Story

Tercets: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Rosary Mom: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Ate Maui: Hoping and Bringing Hope

Written By the Finger of God: 12 Traditions for Keeping Christ in Christmas

Dominique’s Desk: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Felix at Fifty: What Jesus Wants for Christmas

Mommy Bares All: Birthday Cake for the Birthday Boy on Christmas Day

Between Now and Later: Keeping Christ in Christmas, I am trying…

Lique’s Antics: Family Antics: Christmas Reflection

Life of Fortunate Chances: Our First Ever Christmas: Keeping Christ in Christmas

The Mommy Journey: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Roller Coaster Ride: How to Remind Your Kids of Jesus Christ This Christmas

Cymplified: Christ -Centered Christmas: Cymplified!

Mountain Grace: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Touring Kitty: Grown-up Christmas List

Mommy Chinkysoup for the Soul: A Very Special Christmas

City Girl, Country Home: Finding Jesus in a Flurry

Coffee Moments with Sam: Christmas Unwrapped: 5 Presents Our Kids Truly Deserve

Raising Lifelong Learners: Keeping Christ in Christmas

The Diary of a Sower: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Celebrating the Golden Days

Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Raising (and Teaching) Little Saints: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Truly Rich Mom: The Greatest Gift of All This Christmas

Joy-Filled Family: CHRIST in Christmas

Blueberry 010: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Deeper Truth Blog: Keeping Christ in Christmas Carnival

Holy Ducklings: 10 Ways to Make Advent Special for Your Little Ducklings

Green Eggs and Moms: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Green Eggs & Moms Style!

Comments

  1. I love your ideas, and the ornaments are much better than ones that could be found at WalMart (although I’m seriously VERY sad to hear they didn’t have any religious ones). So… figures from your Nativity scenes travel around your house also? One of our wise men took off last year and a camel with him. At least the wise man really WAS wise in taking the camel along.

  2. You have some great ideas! Thanks for sharing… found you on the Shine on Friday hop…Nice to find other christian sites
    Diane
    Fosterparentrescue.blogspot.com
    treasuringgrace.blogspot.com

  3. Hi Monica, I love your ideas and all of your cute pictures. We just had our confession night at church too! It feels good going into Christmas having my soul wiped clean. Have a Merry Christmas and thank you for hosting all of us!

  4. Monica: we sometimes are too busy on Sunday to light our advent wreath candles and pray. So, we do it on another day that week. We are not keeping up with our advent calendar activities very well either. But, we do what we can and my children don’t mind doing them later, so we’ll have plenty of time to do them after Christmas Day. Peace to you this season.

  5. I love all the ideas to put Christ at the forefront. Thanks for linking up with the 40 Days of Seeking Him meme, too.

  6. What agreat post. We have also tried to really keep Jesus’ birth the center of Christmas – it was a wonderful time!

    Loved seeing this at the special link party supporting Sandy Hook last week. Hope you’ll come to The Humble Brag link party today to see some features from last week and link up some more cool projects. We also give away FREE AD SPACE every week! Happy Friday!

    http://www.oneprojectcloser.com/the-humble-brag-link-party-13/

  7. Hi Monica dear! 🙂

    So sorry for the late comment.

    Thank you SO much for joining/co-hosting the carnival with Erika and me! 🙂

    I LOVED reading your post — and am a bit jealous of all your homemade / creatively done Advent and Christmas “goodies”! Haha! 🙂 I would love to have our own Wooden painted saint nativity in a plastic lid! 🙂 Hehe!

    Thank you for the reminder of how to keep Christ in Christmas! 🙂 God bless always!

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