The Holidays. Why is it that those two words can stir two completely opposite emotions: Joy and Stress? Oh how I want to grab all the joy and leave all the stress behind. As kids–the holidays were all joy. It was cousins and cookies and toy catalogs and Christmas carols. As adults–I think we’ve complicated this whole lovely season. Personally, I let fear creep in…The fear I won’t get. it. all. done. That I’m not doing enough. The fear of complicated family situations. Of spreading finances, emotions, and health too thin. So I’m trying to reclaim the joy by keeping my focus on Jesus and doing fun, simple traditions with my family. Here are 3 simple Christmas traditions that can help you rediscover your holiday joy!
It just would not be Christmas without our Jesse Tree. What I love about the Jesse Tree is how it highlights God’s plan to bring us salvation through Jesus from the very beginning of time. The daily stories follow God’s radical love for us from Genesis through the Birth of Jesus. The Jesse Tree devotionals begin on the first day of Advent and include a daily ornament. Mine are just little paper-cut outs (complete with glitter and pink crayon)–they are absolutely priceless. Here’s my post with all the details (and links to daily readings and free printable ornaments).
Another simple Christmas tradition we’ve been doing for years–creating gingerbread houses out of graham crackers! These cuties caught my eye in a Martha Stewart magazine over 10 years ago. Now normally I wouldn’t even attempt anything, “Martha Stewart”–I’m way too amateur with my crafting skills (as evidenced by my cut-out Jesse Tree ornaments). But these. These looked do-able…And they were a HUGE success. We create a little village every year! Even my teenagers still get in on the fun! I’ve got all the details (and my royal icing recipe) in my guest post over at Life of a Homeschool Mom.
I’m so excited to start this brand new tradition with my kids! I’m planning to do the Wise Men Journey as our bedtime story throughout December (we’ll start our mornings with the Jesse Tree). The Wise Men Journey focuses in on all the events surrounding the birth of Jesus–which is truly a big, amazing miracle! I have never seen a children’s book articulate the birth of Jesus in such a relatable and engaging way. It perfectly weaves together the wise men, the shepherds, the angels, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Gabriel–and of course, Jesus! It also has a treasure box (purchased separately), which includes 3 wise men and 25 wooden ornaments. The whole thing is flat out excellent…Here is my post all about it (and how God put this right into my life).
That’s it–my 3 must-do (simple) Christmas traditions! What are your special holiday traditions? I’d love to hear how you are protecting your JOY and squashing the stress! Wishing you so much Love, Peace, and Joy this Christmas season, Sweet Friend!