Monday, November 24, 2014

Intentional Christmas | Preparing Your Heart and Home for an Intentional Christmas

Brian and I have spent considerable time talking through what we really want for our children.

We want them to:
  • value their relationship with the Lord
  • value their relationships with us and each other
  • find their worth in Christ, not in their stuff
  • develop an attitude of gratitude, not an attitude of entitlement
  • see that stuff does not matter, people do
  • learn that the money God gives us has to be spent wisely
  • choose experiences over things
With those goals in mind, we have altered what Christmas will look like for us this year and every year after.

We are choosing to scale back, not just on gifts, but activities.

For the last few years, I have wrapped 24 books and had my children open one every day until Christmas. This year, we are taking a break from the daily book. Instead, we will be learning about the character of God with Melk the Christmas Monkey. We want to redirect our children's focus back to the Lord and off of the commercialism of the season.

We are involved in many church related activities, but we are making sure that we do not overwhelm our calendars. We want to sit back after Christmas is over and reminisce, not crash.

Christmas will be practical, but it will still have the element of Christmas wonder that children look forward to. 

Our home is a decent size, yet space is still at a premium. Once the wrapping paper has settled and the toys have been played out for the day, the issue of finding a place for all of these things comes up. For us, practically speaking, the items we purchase for our children are already having "places" prepared for them. Bookshelves are being purged of "froo-froo" books to make room for books that will last for years to come. Toy boxes are being purged to make room for gifts that family may be giving.

It will have purpose, but it will still be fun. 

My children are involved in a co-op and we also take field trips and visit family frequently. One of the things I know they could benefit from is a backpack. Brian and I have chosen to use a back pack as their "stocking" and some of their smaller gifts (under pants and socks) will be put inside of it.

Addie is now old enough to have a "real" Bible. Because we also want Ian to have a Bible of his own, we have gotten both of them age/reading level appropriate Bibles.

We live in Florida. In the summertime, pools, beaches, and backyard water fun are a part of our daily existence. We decided to gift each child a beach towel featuring a character they prefer. 

The gifts that we are giving our children have been intentionally chosen, based on shown interests and needs that they have.

Addie is completely immersed in the Rainbow Loom phase despite the fact that she does not have an actual Rainbow Loom (hers is like a super simple version of the real thing and is not capable of making anything more than a simple bracelet). We have watched how she learns what she can from cousins and friends and has even learned to use her fingers to make some rings. We decided that she has shown us that she is ready for the real Rainbow Loom as well as a book to help her make some fun accessories.

Ian on the other hand needs a bicycle. Our road was recently paved, so we now have a great place to ride bikes (our road dead ends and we have no traffic). Addie has gotten to ride her bicycle while Ian chases her with the best attitude ever. Once Brian heard him say, "My legs are tired. I need a bicycle." No worries, Little Man. We have you covered.

We are staying away from the "toys" this year. In all honesty, they have plenty of toys, and I have found that the fewer toys they have on hand, the more they play with their toys.

I love that I can depend on several family members and friends to gift us things that are practical and are also needs. Several of my aunts are great at getting my children clothes and pajamas. One aunt in particular always purchases great quality shoes for them (a huge blessing to us!). One of my dear friends almost always gifts us pajamas- something I appreciate so much because it is a need but not something I like spending money on. One of their aunts always calls or texts to find out what our kids want or need.  

An intentional Christmas does not mean you have taken the fun out of Christmas. It means that we are making the thrill of Christmas last much longer with gifts that will be used for a long time to come.

Tomorrow I will be sharing a list of the items we have actually purchased for our children as we work towards as intentional Christmas. 

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