Where have I been? Don't ask. For the last 3 weeks I have had the pleasure of being a maid, doctor and nurse to my children and husband as the flu and sinus colds have hit us time and time again. I will spare you the details, but let's just say 2 bottles of Lysol, and a bottle of Clorox wipes are just the tip of the iceberg that I have been dealing with. Not that I am so narcissistic to think that you live and die by my posts, but I don't want those of you who do read this to know I have not given up, just busy mopping up.
So now, onto better things!
We have started (or revived) an old neighborhood tradition. I call it "Good Neighbor Night" where I invite the entire neighborhood to our house for treats and hot chocolate, and the opportunity to give back to our community. This year we collected warm coats, blankets, towels and hygiene items for local charities. This tradition is what we do instead of neighbor gifts, although if you want to do both go for it. Besides helping those in our community that need a bit of cheer, we also have time to really get to know each other, talk and become better neighbors and friends. We got a good turn out for a new event, and the weather was beautiful, and not too cold. Our daughter, D. brought out Christmas books and read to the little kids on the porch--dang that I didn't get a picture! I had a great time, and I hope all my neighbors will look forward to coming again next year.
This is a new tradition, but I have lots of old ones that I look forward to each year. Why are traditions important? Why do we do them? Are they just a rut we run into, or is there a purpose? We each have a different answer to these, but here's my Two Cents Worth. Traditions are important; they create special memories for us that we can glean from during the year. Creating joy and happiness can sound a bit cheesy, but really creating positive emotions makes us better people. Happy people are needed by everyone--even grouches and grinches. You may not always remember what you ate during a certain event, or what the entertainment was, but you will always remember the feeling of what happenend.
Our Christmas Traditions include 1- Since Jesus is the reason for the season, we start with Him by putting out our Nativity scene one character at a time, beginning 12 days before Christmas. There is an accompanying scripture, song or story that goes along with each piece. Here's an idea link for the 12 Days Nativity. 2- Doing a Service Project as a family. This has ranged from making blankets for the hospital, coat drives, food drives, sending cards to military members, making welcome bags for women's shelters, sending random notes to neighbors who need some cheering, or donating to Toys for Tots and Angel Tree. There are lots of options, make a great memory by choosing a charity and getting involved. 3- Cocoa and Lite night is my favorite. We drive around the neighborhoods and check out others creative decor. There is a fun "I Spy Christmas" game or Bingo that you can play in the car. Print off your own cards HERE and see what you can find. 4- Movie Night and treats. What would any holiday be with food? Boring! We make our favorite treats like marshmallow popcorn, (recipe here) Chex mix, cookies and Spinach Artichoke dip (recipe here) and watch our favorite Christmas movies which always include "Charlie Brown's Christmas," "Elf," and if our teens allow it "A Christmas Story." We also watch "Mr. Kruger's Christmas" and if you haven't seen it you can find it HERE. 5- Reading "The Polar Express" and the story of Jesus' birth from Luke on Christmas Eve. I guess we have a good balance between the temporal and spiritual here, but we want to remember WHY we celebrate and have fun too.
Whatever you choose to do, remember WHY you doing it, and that the MEMORIES made are more important than anything under the tree.