Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Barron Family Christmas Traditions

 I love Christmas. Even more so now that I'm able to create Christmas memories with my own kids. In the Barron house, we think Santa is cool. He fills stockings and brings the kids a gift. But when all is said and done, he's got nothing on baby Jesus.
 The phrase is true after all. Jesus is the reason for the season.

This year - before the Christmas season has come and gone - I wanted to share some of our favorite Christmas traditions. These traditions are special in our home because they point the kids (and adults) toward why we celebrate Christmas.

Christmas Story Advent Calendar
A few years ago, I stumbled across this advent calendar. And loved it.
Every evening in December our family gathers together to experience this calendar. We read a brief passage from the Christmas story (as found in the link above). To give the kids a tangible reminder of what Christmas really stands for, I made a corresponding ornament to go with each reading. We place the ornament on a special advent tree, sing a Christmas carol and pray together. It is simple. And meaningful.

The idea for this tradition comes from my sweet friend (and most loyal reader), Lindy. And it is one of my favorites. A couple years ago Matt made us a small, wooden manger. Every year when we get our ornaments out of storage we bring out the manger also. We place the manger and a small pot of hay (raffia) in front of our decorated tree. Throughout the month of December we prepare the manger for baby Jesus. Whenever anyone sees another family member being kind or serving or generous they place a small amount of hay in the manger. As the month goes on, the manger gets softer and softer in anticipation of baby Jesus' arrival. When the kids awake bright and early Christmas morning they rush to the tree. And there they find the manger filled with a small doll wrapped in cloth and resting comfortably because of the kindness we've shown each other.

Praying Cards

I was so excited when I found this mailbox last December (in the grocery store of all places). 

I knew it would be a perfect addition to the tradition in our home that centers around the Christmas cards we receive each year. Each day when cards arrive in the mail I place them in the mailbox on our mantel. I put the candy cane up to let the kids know "we have mail!". When we gather together in the evening for our advent calendar devotions one of the kids is granted the privilege of removing the cards from the mailbox. Together we open the cards, talk about the family and friends we see before us and then include that family in our nightly prayers. 
 Christmas Craft
To say my kids love crafts would be an understatement. They love crafts more than riding bikes. Or eating. And sometimes I think more than breathing. So each year I like to do a Christmas craft with the kids. This was our craft last year.


 And I'm pretty sure this will be our craft this year.  I'm very excited about this one.

Here are two more simple and sweet ideas if you also have crafty kids.
(popsicle stick nativity scene)
(Flower pot nativity scene)

Christmas Caroling
A couple years ago the kids and I accidentally discovered our love for a long last tradition: Christmas caroling. Matt was working late one December night, the kids were restless and it was still hours before bedtime. Desperately needing to fill time, I made them all hot chocolates and we headed out to see the Christmas lights in our neighborhood. Just as we were walking by a neighbors house, the kids started to sing. So we stopped. And sang them Silent Night. And at the next house, we sang Jingle Bells. And at the next house, we sang Silent Night and Jingle Bells because that was about the extent of their impromptu Christmas caroling knowledge. Because of that, I now include singing (teaching) a Christmas carol as part of our nightly advent calendar devotional time. As a result, the kids Christmas carol repertoire is much improved since Christmas 2011.

I've also found this to be the perfect time to take treats to neighbors. One year we took cookies. Last year we took fresh from the oven soft pretzels. To add meaning to the tradition of giving to others I often lead the kids in prayers for the families we are baking for as we prepare their sweet treats.
Nativity scenes
I love nativity scenes. When I was a little girl, I knew the Christmas season was upon us when my mom took out the boxes containing our nativity scene. For me, it was as special to set up the nativity scene as it was to decorate our tree.

I love this nativity scene because my kids can actually play with the characters.

And I love this one also. It beckons you - whether young or old - to sit quietly and ponder the miracle that was the birth of Jesus. 
While some things change from year to year, the traditions above are a constant in our home. There are other things we enjoy (cutting a tree, driving around town looking at lights, a candlelight service on Christmas Eve, time with friends and family), but we try to limit filling our calendars too full. Simply so our focus stays on the most important gift of all, the humble birth of a tiny babe over 2000 years ago.



  1. Wonderful post Lynette. and I do hope you plan on sharing those ideas at Mom's group. I love your advent calendar. I am hoping to make one for Kirah next year. :-) And so fun that I am your most loyal reader! And a huge fan as well!

    1. Well so much of my Christmas inspiration comes from you Lindy! And there are lots of great advent calendars on pinterest. I think I'll need to update mine in a couple years as the kids get older. And I'm not sure I'll make moms group Monday. Henry as a dr. appointment. But I'll share this link in an email if I don't. :)

  2. Now I really want to send you guys a Christmas card, after reading what you do with them! What a great idea!