We started the Jesse Tree tradition this year. I found a website with scripture verses and symbol ideas, printed out some clip art pictures and made our own ornaments and tree. Each night the kids had fun putting the symbol on the tree as we learned about important figures in the genealogy of Jesus.
The completed tree
Our stockings. The two in the middle are the ones my mom made for Alex and Mary. So beautiful!
Pictures from Christmas Eve at Uncle Tom and Aunt Bambi's house. Poor Alex was sick with a cold, and had to stay home. I was also feeling nauseous on and off all day :( Luckily we were feeling (mostly) better for Christmas the next day.
Christmas morning, opening their stockings.
We decided we aren't really going to "do" the whole Santa thing. The kids know about him, as ubiquitous as he is, but we aren't going to tell them that he is a real person that flies in a sleigh and brings them gifts. He will just be more of a character, like Elmo or Barney. We want to talk a lot about St. Nicholas and that Santa is the world’s view of him, a fairy tale based on a real saint that people made up to have fun. Alex thought maybe we could tell them that it is the Holy Spirit that brings them gifts. This "myth" can then be explained later on, not so much as a lie, but something that has two meanings. For example, it is the Holy Spirit filling our hearts that inspired us to give these gifts generously without ask for anything in return -- an act of charity. We don't want them to miss out on the "magic" of Christmas, but want their hearts and minds focused on Christ, and what is more magical than God becoming a tiny baby?
We are also doing the "Three Wiseman Gifts". Each child will just get three gifts from us on Christmas, just like baby Jesus. The "gold" gift is the big gift, something the child really wants. The "frankincense" gift is something for their spiritual life, to help them grow in faith. The "myrrh" gift is something for the body. I have also read about people doing one of the three gifts as an "experience" gift, which would be a special trip or outing for this child. That might be fun to do in the future!
Alex got space shuttle toy, a crucifix for his room (hasn't arrived yet, on back order) and body paints for the bath. Mary got a baby doll, a rosary, and bath paints. We didn't get poor Lucy anything, but she got plenty of gifts from extended family!
Opening more presents at my parents house...
And having brunch and opening even MORE presents at Uncle Mike and Aunt Cindy's house.
My poor Mer-Bear was pooped and feel asleep on the way home.
We all spent the afternoon recovering and had taco pie for dinner and cake for dessert! Happy birthday, Jesus!