Psalm 127:3-5

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!"

Holiday Thoughts...

As the fall draws closer to us; as the weather cools down (at least here in Louisville) and we start pulling out jackets for brisk mornings and cool evenings, my mind yet again wonders to the upcoming holidays. What will it be like this year? This is Kyle and I's first Thanksgiving and Christmas together as a married couple! Right now, our plans are for my parents to come up to Louisville for Thanksgiving and hopefully for Kyle's parents to come up for Christmas. This will enable us to enjoy our first holidays together in our new home.

We are so very excited about extending hospitality in our home to our families. For 25 years our parents have had the joy of us all being together in their homes during the holiday season... and now it's our turn to have them in our home, as we start new traditions.

Over the last few years, traditions have become a big deal to me. With the thought of having my own husband and family in the near future (yay!!! That time has begun!), I had begun to think of fun traditions that I would like to start, as well as many that I would like to continue. Also, now that I have a wonderful husband, I will have his family's traditions to begin incorporating into ours. What are your favorite foods to eat? Pecan or Pumpkin pie? Or both? Sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes? (I never even knew that people ate MASHED POTATOES for Christmas or Thanksgiving until Lisa joined our family!!! haha...) Turkey or ham?

With the excitement of our families coming to OUR HOME this holiday season, I am excited to begin working towards compiling a list of inexpensive holiday festivities to enjoy with them. However, I want to be so very careful that we don't become so wrapped up into "festivities" that we forget the real meaning of Christmas. It's so easy to become consumed in wanting my house to look "just so," or to have the perfect serving dishes, or to have the perfect holiday scented candle or the perfect bright colored decorations.

My goal for us as we begin new traditions is to learn how to center all holiday festivities, joy, and cheer around Christ.

Christmas with Kyle's parents in Georgia. The first time I got to meet them. We were just dating then... almost engaged.

The food that Kyle's Mama and I made... mainly her. :-) Oh... and her peanut butter fudge is DEFINITELY one tradition I am passing on! I LOVE it!

Thanksgiving at the Oliver's house. Our table, set and ready for the herd of people about to come through. It's always been so much fun over the years watching my Mom set our table so pretty and now enjoying doing that with her as I've gotten older.

The Oliver clan at Thanksgiving. Kyle was so brave to get in that picture with us... even though that was his first time meeting my family! I guess it was prophetic! ;-)


I would LOVE to hear from other couples, young and old, about fun traditions that your families have done over the years, or especially, that you have started as a new couple yourself! Please feel free to leave comments...

7 comments:

Stephanie said...

We have mostly travelled for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, even before the kids were born, but this year we are staying put (I'll be too far along in this pregnancy to travel, which is actually a praise!). Nathan and I have talked a lot about things we'd like to start within our own family since neither of ours really had any traditions (except Santa Clause, and we don't want to carry that one on). The only one that his family has had was sharing what you were thankful for on Thanksgiving before praying. We will keep doing that, I think.

Last year I bought a nativity centered advent calendar. Every night we would open a door with another piece, and Nathan would read Scripture that bring that particular piece into the Christmas story.

A friend of mine uses the time of decorating the tree (we have never had a tree, but my MIL is giving us one, so we'll be starting this this year) to talk to her children about Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection. She is careful what they put on the tree as symbolism. I think she used the lights to talk about how He is the light of the world, and mostly red ornaments to talk about the blood He shed for us. It took her weeks to get the tree up as they did this (started Thanksgiving weekend). She went through the same things with them as she took everything off the tree as well. Does that make sense?

We only get three gifts for our kids at Christmas. One, we don't want materialism to creep in and that be what Christmas is about, and two it remdinds us of the three gifts the wise men brought Jesus as a toddler. We'd like to extend the three gift thing to be three gifts total, but aren't sure the grandparents will go for that. ;)

The only other thing I can really think of right now is not doing Santa Clause, but actually talking about who Saint Nicholas was (not celebrating or worshiping him, obviously).

Well, that got lengthy...hopefully it helped give you some ideas. :)

Renee said...

Does this mean you are officially trying to get pregnant?! :)

Michelle said...

What?!?! haha... no, Renee! We are not trying to get pregnant... not yet at least. ;-) No, a lot of times when I refer to "my family" I'm just talking of Kyle and I because I see us as a family. But, I'm just trying to get my ideas formulated for the future as well as while we are childless...

Michelle said...

Stephanie,

I love your ideas! Especially your friend's idea of how she set up the Christmas tree. Even for us adults, what a great reminder as we put up the tree to think of all that it represents.

I also really like the idea of only buying (or making) children three gifts. It's so easy to get caught up in buying a bunch of stuff that they really don't even need. Also, if you teach them from a young age to not expect a lot, they won't know any different!

Your ideas were very helpful! Thanks Stephanie!

travelingstacey said...

I love the holidays, too! So much fun! One tradition Joe and I started when we got married, before kids, was watching It's a Wonderful Life every Christmas...along with other Christmas movies, but esp. that one! I had never seen it before we married and the first time we saw it together we just cried and loved it! There's nothing particularly spiritual about it, but we love it! We also drive around and look at Christmas lights...before kids and since. We do a Christmas tree, but also don't do Santa Claus and limit the gifts. We got Sophie three things last year and she was very happy. Joe and I also don't really do presents for each other. We try to do something for our family as our gift...one year a new couch, another year home improvements, etc. We do get little things for our stockings, though. I love doing stockings! :-) We wanted to strictly be at our house for Christmas, but that has changed for now. My elderly Grandparents have get togethers at their houses Christmas Eve and Day, so we have been staying over at my parents Christmas morning. Eventually we want to be at our house, though, but I want to be with my Grandparents as long as they're with us. Just thinking about all this is so exciting...I love the holidays!! :-) I think the big thing that has helped us is to be flexible but try to stick to the things that you hold most important. God bless!

Renee said...

Oh! Okay, I thought...wow, fast! (Which in no way is a bad thing..) :)

Anyway, Grace Community does a ladies brunch each year where we celebrate each holiday and I think the church has actually compiled a book with each ladies family tradition so that we can learn from them and implement the ones we like with our own families. I will try and find it and send it to you, if you'd like it! Some of them were very creative and fun and especially exciting because with each holiday and each month (especially if you homeschool) you can incorporate something that will allow you to teach your child more about Jesus.

Michelle said...

Stacey, I love looking at Christmas lights too! Kyle and I drove around the neighborhoods near the Seminary last year and enjoyed looking at the decorated homes. He also showed me that one house in Eastman that goes all out every year with lights. That was fun!

Last year my Dad sent me like six new Christmas movies to watch... so I think we'll begin to have favorites. Watching them together every year is a great idea!

Being flexible with our schedule is something I'm sure we'll have to learn over the years as each set of parents will want to be with us. For now, trading off holidays seems to be working... but we'll see once grandchildren come along! ;-)

Renee, that book from your church sounds very interesting! I would LOVE to have a copy of that. If you find it, please let me know and I'll send you my address. I'm just not very creative when it comes to new things like this, so I'm all about hearing other people's ideas! What do you and Daniel do each year? I guess it's nice for ya'll that both sets of parents are near by. And... speaking of babies... what about ya'll????

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