12.18.2014

Making Christmas Merry: We’ll Be Home for Christmas [Eve]

Modern [Western] Christmas celebrations and prep seem to start earlier every year. 

I’m pretty sure I saw Christmas decorations for sale in August this year. When December finally rolls around, it seems like every week there is a party to attend, a charity to serve, a cookie exchange for which to bake. Even though Hubby Bear’s job affords about 2 weeks off around Christmas, we generally only have 2 days at home without an obligation to show up anywhere. A season that is supposed to be about peace becomes a hectic season filled with one obligation after another. In the hoopla, it can be easy to forget the Reason for the Season.

*Sigh* I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it! That’s why my family has a built-in reset button for our holiday season.

This tradition dates back to my childhood, started by my Mama Bear. It has been appreciated by Hubby Bear, enjoyed by my children, and jealously guarded by me. 

We do not leave the house on Christmas Eve. 

In the midst of the busiest season of the year, we take a day and just rest. Rest physically—in our pajamas all day! Rest in the love that we have for each other—we don’t have to go, or do, or perform. Rest spiritually—basking in the “peace on earth, goodwill to men” (Luke 2:14).

The day starts a little later than most. We won’t bother to change out of our cuddly Christmas PJs. 


After snuggles, we have a special brunch of palačinky (thin Czech pancakes) with sundae fixings—hot fudge, ice cream, honey, whipped cream, powdered sugar, etc.


Then we do our final Advent devotion and light the Christ Candle. We have done devotionals and lit candles the previous four Sundays on our homemade Advent wreath.


Hubby Bear reads either Matthew 1 and 2, or Luke 2 (alternating years), often from the big family Bible out of which Papa Bear used to read to Mama Bear and me on Christmas Eves long past.
 

Then we pray, remembering to thank God for the Greatest Gift—His Son—before we start tearing into the other gifts under the tree.


We take our time to play with and enjoy the gifts and each other, rather than unwrapping one after another. We want to teach our children thankfulness. We want to spend time together, not just seek the next thrill or material possession. This year, we are implementing a new rule: the children each get one gift from their sibling, one gift from Mommy, one gift from Daddy, and one book from Mom and Dad. 

When we get hungry enough to stop for dinner (we usually don’t get hungry for lunch after all the palačinky), we fix something easy to eat on the couch and watch The Nativity Story

We’ve had to turn down fun invitations, and have been given our share of guilt trips, in the name of keeping this day sacrosanct. But it is worth it to us to spend a day focusing on the person with whom we vowed to serve God forever, the little souls with whom God has entrusted us, and most importantly, the Savior who gave up…infinity…to be born as a tiny Babe in a poor, smelly stall.

Keep it Kute (and keep Christ in Christmas),

 ________________________________________

ABOUT KIMBERLY

Kimberly Doremus is the “Jill of all trades” behind KimBEARably Kute. She lives with her Hubby Bear, their four-year-old son and one-year-old daughter (affectionately nicknamed Buddy Bear and Bitty Bear, respectively), and the world’s friendliest cat, Sherlock, in a 95 year old house in Central Illinois. Besides crafting and writing, Kim enjoys serving in various children’s ministries at her church, homeschooling her kids, running, and fangirling. You can find her at KimBEARably Kute, on Pinterest, and on Twitter.

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