The Grade one classes spend the month of December focusing on the different Christmas traditions each family celebrates. Over the years, I have witnessed many of these mini-celebrations with numerous ACES families. A question that has often come up is, “What about you? How do you celebrate Christmas?” So here are three of our best celebrations according to my family:

  1. The first best thing about Christmas is…Christmas Tree Day. The day we set up our tree! In the first year of marriage, a parent heard that I didn’t have a tree—blamed on the fact that we were doing some travelling to visit ALL the relatives and the sheer cost of all the decorations—and brought a nice thrift-store classic over, along with basic decorations and strands of lights that DID work! We had to do some creative decorating, but it was a lovely tree, nonetheless. Since that first Christmas, our tree has only grown in beauty and splendor, now adorned with school, church, and home-made creativity, along with other memories collected along the way. We use “Christmas Tree Day”—usually the first day of December—to adorn our house with decorations and indulge in appetizers until we feel ill. It’s a great day that starts off the season well!
  2. The second…is our Advent Calendar. No, it’s not the latest Lego or Playmobile brand, nor the ones that have the waxy chocolate behind the cardboard flap. A few years ago, a crafty lady at church introduced what she had done and invited us to join her in creating one. With the help of ingenious friends—and Google—we have an advent calendar complete with crafty little tins that contain a Bible passage and Christmas activity for each day leading up to Christmas. This has given us some great memories together and quality family time…and some practice in patience, understanding, and stress-management!
  3. The third is…the extended family get-togethers. They are generally loud, bursting with hyper children and crammed with delicious cuisine! Catching up with family members and friends, and catching food from children before it stains carpets. Celebrating late into the night, reminiscing of times past, and laughing until our tummies hurt. All the ingredients for a festive gathering! And places where you don’t see the “I forgot the ___ on the list…can you run out and get it for me?…on Christmas Eve?” Or the, “They want me to make WHAT?!?! for this dinner?” Or the “Why am I COOKING on Christmas Eve…after everyone else is tucked in bed?” And the, “I hope they sleep in just a little bit tomorrow.” According to our family, these gatherings happen seamlessly, and food, gifts, and favours all just magically appear as needed!

With all the chaos and delight interlaced in the holiday season, the BEST of Christmas still outweighs them all—the thankfulness we share for the birth of our Saviour who gave us a reason to celebrate in the first place. The gratitude of sitting around the table listening to the Luke story read and the gratefulness for songs-of-old played and replayed to remind us of the One who is acclaimed long after the tree is gone and lights are dimmed.

Blessings as you commence this holiday season!