This is How We Christmas Celebrating Christ

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Welcome to the final installment of This is How We Christmas 2009! Thanks so much to all of you who have played along. I’m still working my way through your decoration posts but I can already say you girls have some skillz in creating some holiday atmosphere in your homes.

First things first, y’all want a winner for last week’s giveaway to Vintage Lane! The random number according to Random.Org is….

  #16   ~   Denise @ You Never Let Go

Congratulations, Denise!  Contact me at thepreacherswife1 AT gmail DOT com to claim your prize of  $50 credit towards a Vintage Lane purchase!   Thanks again to Rachael for a fabulous gift.

Now, we are on to the most important portion of our ‘how we do it’ list:  how we celebrate Christ during this season.  Do you have Advent devotions?  Have a birthday party for Jesus?  Attend or take part in special programs at church either in general or with your womens’ ministries?  Tell us all about it!

Here are just a couple of things we do:

1.  The Christmas Story:

On Christmas morning, we never open gifts without reading the Christmas account from Luke 2 first.   Obviously this may seem tortuous to the kids but they accept that it’s important to our family to keep the gifts in proper perspective to The Gift.  To add a little twist to the reading, we buy Cokes in glass bottles and drink them to clear the fog from our sleepy heads.  Truly, is there anything more refreshing than an ice cold Coke from a glass bottle?  Up until this year we’ve found special edition bottles that are vintage remakes.  No luck this year in finding them but we’ll do regular glass if we can’t locate the cool ones.

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2.  Christmas Cantata:

Our church choir is truly gifted and puts on an absolutely beautiful cantata every year.  It’s not every church gifted with so many wonderful voices so I don’t take for granted that we have one talented bunch who work very hard to lead our church and community in musical worship through their performance.  This year’s program was called Night of Hope.  My favorite song was “He Came Down” and just goes right along with the concept of God condescending to His people that He has reminded me of over and over this season.  Beautifully done, precious Choir.  Your pastor and his wife love you all so much!!  (Even you, Dewayne…considering you are the meanest dern deacon alive.)

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3.  Prayers over Gift Assembly:

Okay, so really this next thing isn’t all that spiritual except it takes all the restraint of the Holy Spirit to maintain one’s composure during the annual putting together of Christmas gifts.  Especially when the instructions look like this:

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That would be the diagram for assembling the weight bench Luke got the boys last Christmas.  As in a year ago.  As in it’s been in the box in the corner of the playroom until today.  This year’s gift was the weights that went with it hence, the necessity of putting together the bench.  It was definitely a bonding moment for Dad and Sons:

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I am happy to report the bench was built in the span of the afternoon without major incident or any detours from the road of sanctification.  Boy One has offered to teach me how to work out properly.  I’ll be glad to let him as long as he is willing to wait until January 1.  I have lots of eating on the calendar between now and then.

4.  Kids’ Programs and Jesus Birthday Party:

Back to the spiritual stuff.   I would love to hear your ideas for a Jesus Birthday Party.  Our children’s church will be hosting one but we’ve elected to do it the Sunday after Christmas since all the kids’ programs took place today.  That would be the same kids’ programs of which I have no photos because I couldn’t find my camera battery this morning.  We have an itty bitty-aged (thru 2nd grade) kids’ group who sang, “Mary Had a Baby”.  My daughter was in this one and they were just too cute for words.  We also have a KFC (Kids for Christ) who did a skit as well as a Youth FOG team (Focus on God) who did a drama to Mary Did You Know.  My three boys were spread between these two teams.   Again, we are blessed to have a fabulous group of women who work with our kids in these drama productions.  Many thanks to all of you! 

There’s much more I could tell you but it would totally be without pictures and the wordiness of it all would send you right over the edge.  So, that means it’s your turn!  Link your post below to join the fun!

BTW – this week’s prize is a $20 gift card to Amazon.com.  They’ve got some amazing gold box deals right now so no doubt you can find something for yourself or one you love!

This is How We Christmas: Decoration Edition

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Welcome to This is How We Christmas: Decoration Edition!  If this is your first visit, you should know this little blog party is happening on Thursdays this December. So far we’ve had the Tradition Edition and we’ll close out with Christ in our Home and Church next week.

The first order of business is awarding the door prize for last week’s participants. The winner will receive her choice of either Jeanne Winters’ book Inspirational Home or one of the art prints from her Etsy shop. The winner (according to Random.org) is…..

#8   Julie’s Journal

Congrats, Julie!  All that trash-talkin’ you did during the Scavenger Hunt netted you a prize at last.. hahaha!  (Love you, my friend!  I’m sending your info to Jeanne!)

Thanks so much to all of you who played along last week.  Don’t forget to link up today for another great prize I’ll announce at the end of this post!

Before we do that,  I have a confession to make.

I’m not done yet.

With the decorating that is.

Even with all the faux internet obligation I created for myself, I just haven’t been able to get all the chestnuts roasted and the halls decked and the bells jingled in time to show you some proper decoration photos. BUT, God love my heart, I do have a good beginning and it is there where I will start (in no particular order):

1. The Blingy Reindeer:

I’m crazy for these and typically put them on the side table in my dining room.  We don’t have a great many horizontal spaces in our house so I try to be certain I love the few things I am able to sit out.  And these reindeer?  I love.  They are particularly gorgeous in the dark with the lights shinging through their sparkly bodies.  It just occurred to me:  Could they be vampires? 

I must also point out they have greenery under their feet.  Greenery from the tree clippings Luke swore I wouldn’t use. 

I Win. 

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2. The Scottish Santa:

Luke’s mom gave us either because she wanted to commemorate the McKay Scottish Heritage or she found a great sale.  It was probably a bit of both.  His home is in front of the antique church scoreboard. I don’t have anything witty to say about that. (Do you love how many of us are ‘on time’ each Sunday?)

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3. The Girl Tree:

My sweet girl has been begging for a personal tree for years so Luke and I finally broke down and bought her a purple one. It went against all the HGTV that was in me because her room is yellow, brown and green. They were out of white trees and I knew she’d want purple rather than green so I caved. She was absolutely precious decorating it herself.  We lack a tree skirt and a few more ornaments but she is already thrilled out of her mind with it as is. Now the boys want one. Just what we need is five Christmas trees when I can scarce decorate one.

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4. My favorite ornaments:

These nativity ornaments are the pride and joy of my tree save for the fact that baby Jesus has a broken arm.  It occurred to me a couple of years ago that I had been more intentional about decorating with snowmen than Christ and that bothered me. Since then, I’ve made a point of having the nativity prominently displayed.

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5. The Nativity:

This lives on the top of our entertainment center in hopes of avoiding another broken Jesus arm.

(And yes, there is more live greenery hand-snipped and lovingly placed by yours truly.)

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6. The Tree:

The Tree is not quite finished but it’s getting there even though I’ve almost burned the house down in the process. For the past two days we’ve had power outages in town and it was suggested my tree was the reason. I can not confidently refute that assertion. I took this photo with the room lights off both to show how pretty the lights are and because the bulb is burned out in the overhead and I was too lazy to change it. I figure the tree will be enough for now.

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Now it’s your turn! And for those of you who play along, I have a giveaway from Rachael at The Vintage Lane. She has graciously offered a $50 credit towards a hand-stamped jewelry purchase from her Etsy shop. Thanks for the fabulous gift, Rachael!

Okay, it’s time to hear from you girls! Show us How You Decorate!

This Is How We Christmas: <Br> Quirky Traditions Edition

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Welcome to This is How We Christmas!   If you are just reading for the first time, you can find more info on our Thursday in December fun here.

Today I’m hoping you’ll share things your family does to celebrate the Holiday season. Just a reminder: Thursday the 10th will center on how we decorate and Thursday the 17th is when we will get into how we celebrate Christ in our homes and church. Of course Christ should permeate all we do but my family does SO much during the holidays that it seemed logical to break down the categories to make manageable posts.

One of the things I really hope to accomplish through this Blog Party is to give one another fresh celebration ideas. There may be those of you who have suffered loss this year and are looking for a new normal. There may be yet others who have found themselves in a holiday rut and need a jolt to the routine. You may be like me and are just always on the prowl for something fun to do with the kids. Whatever your reason for being here, I have no doubt you’ll find it!

Maybe you are unsure of what I mean by Quirky Family Traditions? How about I give you a rundown of ours to get the ball rolling.

1. The Santa Thing:
As I stated in the Introductory post, this isn’t a forum for the Santa debate. As for me and my house, we have always had fun with Santa while keeping him way down the food chain in priority during the season. With that said, this is probably the most lame part of our tradition because we’ve never put much energy into it. My boys were always horrified of him in the stores so we’ve never rushed to the mall to have our photos taken. What about you? Santa photos or no?

We have a Santa snack: We always bake cookies and leave some on his special Santa Plate along with a glass bottled Coke because everyone knows that Santa would rather have Coke than milk any day. I personally think he would prefer Diet Dr. Pepper but that leaves less for me so Coke it is.

This is the first year all three of my boys no longer believe in Claus. My oldest was actually last to give in. In fact, when Luke gave him The Talk after his 12th birthday, he was still innocent to the truth. I asked Luke when he was going to tell him about Santa since he already knew about S**. Luke reasoned that was too much for a boy to take in on one day so in the interest of not traumatizing him further, we left it alone. He’s still never officially spoken the words that he doesn’t buy it any more but I’m pretty certain it’s because he’s protecting us.

As for Christmas day gift-giving, we slow things down a bit by making the kids open one gift at a time and appreciate it for just a moment before they tear into the next thing.  The kids act like they hate it but we really don’t care.  So, Merry Christmas or whatever.   

2. Christmas Eve Day:

This is the day that is frivolous, agendaless entertainment. A few years back, we began a new ritual of having breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then taking the kids to a movie. I alluded to it before but it is probably my most favorite day of the season. It is completely stress-free and mindless and we absolutely love it. Like any tradition, it’s one of those things that doesn’t seem to mean a whole lot but it’s slice-of-life special to me.  It’s so cool that my kids will always remember that on Christmas Eve, it was Cracker Barrel and the movies and the popcorn and the Milk Duds in the cushy Rave theater.  If the Lord tarries, they may just take their kids too. 

I hope I am invited.  (Of course, invitations are just a formality.  I”M GOING, bless my future SIL and DIL’s hearts.)

 I just made myself cry. 

3. The Food and Parties and Games:

Food is where I’m a failure. I’m not one of those girls who bakes tins full of homemade goodies. Most of my cooking centers around the mostly random parties we attend. This year, we are having one of our family Christmases at my house and I’m so excited about looking for some great recipes to try. Will y’all be posting your own food and party ideas? I’m hoping so!   I do have a few classic standbys.  One is Strawberry Pretzel.  The crust is a little tricky but if you follow the directions in the recipe it should turn out great.

Ashamedly, we aren’t a huge game-playing family.  However, last year my BIL and Sister made a biblical version of Jeopardy. (They don’t know it yet but they are officially in charge of recreation again this year.)  It was so incredibly fun and yet I have to embarassingly admit that Luke and I stunk it up. You would think we had never cracked open a Bible. Of course to our credit, the BIL can come up with some obscure references.  Do y’all do family games?  Which are your favorite? 

We attend many parties every season but none aside from family get togethers that would be considered tradition.  This year is the first since we’ve moved to Alabama that I’ve played hostess to a family soiree.  What about you?  Do you have a fun party you host?   Attend a gathering that you particularly love?  A certain group of people who you make a point to see every year?  Details, people!  I need to be inspired to be better at opening my home without stressing completely out. 

Okay, so that’s enough about me.  I want to know How You Christmas! 

But wait! 

We have prizes!

My friend Jeanne Winters responded for my desperate plea for a giveaway for you and has graciously offered a choice of her book Inspirational Home or a vintage-styled art print of your choice from her Etsy shop.   In case y’all don’t know Jeanne, she has created a line of gift items she developed with DaySpring that are featured in Hallmark stores.  If you are like me and need decorating ideas, you should really check out her blog.  Yes, she’s fabulous.  Thanks for the sweeeet gift, Jeanne!

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If you would like to participate in the fun, link to your specific post (not your homepage).  The Linky will be open until next Wednesday.  I will select the winner by random number generator and will announce it next Thursday with the How We Decorate Edition.   I can’t wait to visit you!

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