Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Traditions

What traditions do you and your families have during the holiday season?
Are they important to you? 
Do they stress you out because you feel like if you don't get to them it will completely ruin the season? 
Are there some traditions you do, but you have no idea why? 
Do any of the traditions have to do with the true reason of the season? Do any bring in the love of Christ and the giving to others? 

These are the questions I have been thinking about the last couple of weeks as Matt and I head into our 3rd Christmas as a married couple. When Matt and I were dating I asked if his family had any holiday traditions that he wanted to keep going to our little Ho family. He informed me he did not and that his dad didn't like traditions so they never had any special things they had to do. 

I was pretty shocked because my family had always had a few special things they did during the Christmas season and I wanted to incorporate some into my new family. 

What I have realized though is TRADITIONS are a lot harder than you might think! 

The last two years the only thing we did was exchange our p.j.s on Christmas Eve and watch the Christmas Story- go crazy on stockings - and have a nice dinner. 

There really was no mention of Jesus and his birth or the importance of the holiday. 

So this year I asked Matt what things he wanted to do to make sure we have a constant reminder of the 'reason for the season'. 

We brainstormed, and then I went a little crazy and tried to do everything imaginable. And I got a little stressed out. I was freaking out with all the things we needed to do to remember Christmas and to start our traditions as a little family so by the time we had children we would have a nice little routine. 

THIS IS CRAZY AND STRESSFUL. And a little pointless. What I have realized in the last week is I can't do everything. And I shouldn't do everything. Going overboard is only going to leave me stressed, tired, and grumpy.... the complete opposite of what I want to be. 

So this year I am going  to try to just relax and enjoy the joy this time of year brings. 

I do want to put more emphasis in Christ and the true importance of the celebration. My mom always celebrated the 12 days of Christmas by selecting a few families to secretly drop treats off on each night with a little message. 

Instead of doing this every night, Matt and I are picking a few families and just doing a drop one night. 

Another thing I really want to try is doing Random Acts of Kindness throughout the month. I don't want this to be a huge ordeal- just some random things I can do to give back to others. 

(Just some things I may do) 

Eventually, I would love to get the Elf on the Shelf because I saw some pretty cute things families have done with the Elf. 

While this post has become this huge rambling mess I do want to share my true point. Traditions are important and they are great. And I think they can add a lot to your celebrations, but your whole season should not just focus on these things you 'MUST' do. Some traditions work well one year and aren't necessary the next. And if your going to get stuck in the traditions mess- stick with those that are all about giving back to others. 

The other day Matt and I bought toys for the Toys for Tots event my school was putting on with the local military branch. And it felt so good to do this and know the toys were going to kids that otherwise wouldn't get toys. 

Today I watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional (for you guys that don't know what I am talking about- this is an annual message the leaders of my church broadcast during the month of December.) I enjoyed listening to the message that was shared and taking the time for the gospel. 

Click here for a link to the Devotional. 

Good luck with your traditions! Don't get stressed and remember to relax and give back to others. 

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- Alex