With all the comings and goings of the past couple of months I’m only just getting round to catching up on big events, like celebrating Jesus’ birth at Christmas.
We moved house just a few weeks before Christmas day, so our usual traditions weren’ quite as extensive as usual (I still cant find my big advent calendar bunting…). We did keep up with most of the traditions through, and created some new ones.
In the lead up to moving, the boys spent some time staying with each set of Grandparents for a few days so we could pack up. While they stayed with my parents (and while I was there too), we visited David Jones and the boys each picked a decoration for the tree. They each picked a miniature snow-globe and then enjoyed a babycino and gingerbread man with Grandpa – a lovely treat!
We shared Christmas lunch with our lovely neighbours (who we are so sad to live away from). They had presents for us under their tree which the boys VERY excitedly discovered and unwrapped.
After we moved in, Brian was sent out to pick our first (hopefully of many) real Christmas tree. After carting it out of the car and getting it upright and firmly standing in its holder the boys and I….well, mostly me…got to work decorating it. The smell was amazing!
[Disclaimer: I've put in the next paragraph because I had a few people ask me what we do as a family surrounding Santa. This is what we do so far (with very young kids), what they have retained so far and what they will continue to learn remains to be seen...]
We don’t ‘do’ Santa, instead we are teaching the kids about St Nicholas, who was a Christian man, motivated by his love for Jesus, who gave underprivileged children things they needed at Christmas (yes, it’s a very abridged version….). Our kids get a present from us (we give because God first gave to us), and they receive things they ‘need’ in their ‘St Nicholas sacks’ (undies, drink bottle, stationary….and a card game or small toy). Having said all that….this year we did a Santa photo. As a once off with the three kids. How do we explain all the Santas in the shops? – people dress up in the St Nicholas (Santa) costume at Christmas to remind us of his generous giving that sprung from a love of Christ. Overall, we are trying to teach the kids that Christmas is about celebrating the gift of Jesus being born as a gift to humans so we can know God (i.e. It’s not about them).
As usual, I baked a lot of gingerbread..this year the boys helped too (and loved it!).
We went back for Finn’s preschool graduation and Christmas concert, and despite being away for three weeks, he jumped back into the songs from the front (albeit standing still for lots of it), I was so proud of him for being part of it all.
We went to carols! What a fantastic way to experience a new community – with several hundred people singing and celebrating! We loved it! And Finn loved being able to read all the words to the carols in his song book.
Every Christmas Eve we have a birthday cake to celebrate Jesus’ birth. This year the boys helped me make a ridiculously complicated (but very tasty) chocolate mousse cake. After mucking up the base three times we finally got there. We sang happy birthday and blew out a big candle and read the account of Jesus’ birth from the gospel of Luke.
I took the kids to the Christmas Eve family service (in their PJs). Again, they were VERY excited, especially by being able to sing along to Colin Buchanan songs and see ‘Rescue Dude’ talking about the real super hero of Christmas; Jesus.
Christmas day was a great celebration. Violet opened her first present (a big Sophie la Girafe), and seemed to instinctively know what to do with the wrapping. The boys loved finding their presents under the tree and were busting to play with them.
We spent Christmas day with my side of the family, including my Nanna. We ate ham (lots of ham), salad and pavlova and the boys smashed the gingerbread house to bits so we continued to eat way too much sugar!
Boxing Day we spent with Brian’s side of the family. The cousins had lots of fun playing together and showing each other their new toys.
Well, I think that covers our ‘festive season’. If you read this far, thanks!