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I am still working on how to keep Christ in Christmas, but tend to read books I get at the library to the boys at bedtime. As for our budget this year, we have shaved $5 from each person saving us around $100 total. It wasn't so much the economy that caused us to make the reduction as it was just trying to get back to the true meaning of giving.~Jessica
I have never been one to spend a lot at Christmas. I really try to stress to my children the real meaning of the season. We do the traditional Christmas Eve service. We read the story of the birth of Jesus. On Christmas morning we also say(throughout the day) "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus!"
Our family always does an Advent wreath. We have a special family time on the four Sundays preceding Christmas. We have a Bible scripture reading and talk about the candle and the theme for that evening. We also try to help someone at Christmas. Last year our local Chick-Fil-A had a Christmas tree where you chose the name of an elderly person at a local nursing home and bought them a gift. Last year we also rang the bell for the Salvation Army kettle in front of Wal-Mart.
We have only one child and when he was a toddler there were so many gifts for him under the tree that I thought he'd still be opening them on New Year's Day! So I implemented the "3-Gifts" rule: no one is given more than 3 gifts because Jesus received 3 gifts from the Magi. When his pre-teen friends boast about how many gifts they received, our son proudly tells them that he received as many gifts as the Christ child and it opens the door for him to witness!
We are limiting the number of people we are buying for. As far as keeping Christ in Christmas, one thing I am doing this year is an interactive nativity. It is called What God wants for Christmas. It is a "devotional" type nativity where we open up a new part of the nativity each day for seven days. I received it as a gift last year and can't wait to start it!
We're scaling our gift buying down this year. We're teaching our 3 year old son that the reason we give gifts is because God gave us the greatest gift of all in his Son Jesus. And we celebrate his birthday at Christmas. We're also hoping to teach our son about giving to others. He's still young but we'd like to instill a sense of compassion and generosity in his heart and Christmas seems a great time of year to start.
We have an advent wreath as well which we have not done very well this year. However, the meaning is there. We also annually prepare a birthday cake and sometimes sing happy b-day to baby Jesus too. We usually have guests or bring it wherever we are going, so can help others understand about baby Jesus's b-day too. Blessings, Julie
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