I just met Raegan in the past couple of months as her hubby is our new Married Young Adults pastor at our church. My favorite thing about Raegan has got to be that you feel like you are best friends one second into your first conversation. She claims to be an outgoing introvert, but you would never guess it! Seriously, she will have you laughing and gabbing in two seconds flat. One of the things that has made Chris and I so quickly respect and love the Hodges is how genuine they not just appear, but truly are. They are committed to following Jesus, love their family well, get a total kick out of each other and laugh a lot along the way. They have been so intentional at connecting with so many young families so quickly at our church. I can't wait to get to know this family more in the years to come!
What has been 1-3 of your favorite Christmas traditions as a family?
1. We always do Christmas Eve service as a family and then we have breakfast for supper. We have started doing a Waffle bar which the girls love!! We of course read the Christmas story. Brad is adding some reading of Old Testament passages this year to help the girls to see how amazing the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled are! We then watch the very spiritual "Muppets Christmas Carol" (I watched growing up on Christmas Eve too!!)
It always goes by so quickly and I feel like it gets short changed at home sometime due to church/work events. Also even though we love the not traveling, it is sad not to be with extended family on the holidays as well!
This has always been a great debate at our house and required many heated discussions as a young married couple! HA!HA! Brad came from the house were Santa never was done and I came from a house where it was done but not overly so. Brad loves to say if you rearrange the letters of Santa it spells Satan. He loves to use that one to push my buttons! We do have Santa at our house but we don't make it a big deal at all. We celebrate more the spirit of Christmas. We leave out cookies and they get stockings and usually one gift that is from "Santa". But no letters or visiting Santa or elf on the shelf or anything like that. Brad and I agreed early on though once they actually start asking point blank questions...no lying. So our oldest asked last year (in kindergarten) and we sat her down and talked to her about it. It didn't hurt her trust in us at all. We explained it was something fun the parents do giving gifts like St. Nicholas and then showed her the Veggie tale video on him. The thing we keep reminding her is she is not to tell anyone else there is no Santa because we believe it is up to each parent to decide when to tell their own kids.
We keep it pretty minimal on our end...grandparents are a different story though!! : ) We definitely lean towards only a few more meaningful gifts as opposed to lots of small gifts or really large gifts. Our girls really are great in that they don't really ask for much and they seem pretty grateful no matter what they get! We do try to give something to those people who help us through out the year to let them know that they are appreciated...teachers, church worker, post man. Just usually a small bag of candy but something to remind the girls about how many people help us throughout our weeks. We also usually adopt a family and bring the girls to help us shop for them. Letting them see they are asking for basics not even the fun stuff and let them see how blessed they are.
I always have to make sure I am not holding myself up to too high a standard about not doing enough with the girls during the Holidays. Traditions very rarely just happen...it must be intentional. It is a new year every year though and never too late to start a new tradition. One I want to start is taking one Christmas card a night and praying specifically for that family and explain the part that family has played in our life through the years. Most importantly constantly bring you, your spouse, and your kids back to the manager that night so many years ago when the ultimate gift was born! All the other Christmas things will then fall into place!